Thai fire nightclub owner charged

Owner makes tearful apology as another fire breaks out in Bangkok shopping mall.

    Police say they are still investigating
    the cause of the fire [EPA]

    He had already been charged with allowing in an underage customer - a 17-year-old high school student, who was among the dead.

    "I'd like to apologise to the relatives for the dead people and the injured"

    Wisuth Setsawat, 
    owner of the Santika Club

    Accompanied by his lawyer and friends, Wisuth reported to police on Sunday afternoon after failing to show up at the station on Saturday.

    He denied trying to flee, saying he was suffering from smoke inhalation.

    "I'd like to apologise to the relatives for the dead people and the injured," Wisuth said as he raised his palms in the traditional Thai prayer-like "wai" gesture.

    He broke into tears as he tried to continue talking to reporters.

    Shopping mall fire

    Sunday's fire night at the Sua Pa Plaza in Bangkok's Chinatown district left one person dead and at least 38 injured.

    Police Colonel Senit Samransamruadkit, quoting witnesses, said the fire broke out in a mobile telephone shop on the first floor and had spread quickly.

    A lawyer for Santika Club's owner said some compensation had been paid [EPA]
    He said the body of one man was found inside the building but the cause of the fire was still not known.

    The toll from the Santika Club fire rose to 62 on Sunday, with 31 others still in critical condition, having sustained burns to over 70 per cent of their bodies, according to the Narenthorn Emergency Centre.

    Forty-seven people in stable condition, 17 of them foreigners, were still being treated at Bangkok hospitals.

    Police Colonel Nithi Banthuwong, who is in charge of identifying the dead, told The Associated Press that nine severely burned and disfigured bodies had yet to be identified.

    According to Wisuth's lawyer, the club's 31 business partners decided to set up a fund to help those affected by the disaster and some compensation had already been paid to relatives of 11 dead and injured victims.

    The lawyer also confirmed that Santika Club had not renewed its fire insurance, which expired four months ago.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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