By THANATPONG KHONGSAI,
Under existing air navigation laws violators, especially those releasing sky lanterns that can cause damage to aircraft, can face the death penalty or life in prison
Chumphon Chaokoh, director of the BMA department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, disclosed that City Hall was currently drafting the ordinance about rules related to the lighting of all types of fireworks and releasing of sky lanterns in Bangkok area.
Though the ordinance is still not ready, the BMA has announced that all types of fireworks and sky lanterns were forbidden during Loy Krathong and anybody violating the restrictions will face three months in jail and/or Bt60,000 in fines.
Chumphon explained that the fireworks banned during Loy Krathong included any form of firecrackers, fireworks, rockets, sky lanterns or anything that resembles these objects.
“Producers and sellers of fireworks are also required by law to register with the local authorities and follow the Health Department’s regulations, otherwise they too will be punished,” he said.
He also stated that officers from related agencies will inspect factories producing fireworks and shops selling them to ensure that everybody is following the law and everything is in order and safe.
“Those who set off fireworks or anything resembling the fireworks that might endanger or damage an aircraft will be subjected to death penalty or life imprisonment or up to 20 years in jail under the Offences against Air Navigation Act,” he warned.
Chatchai Promlert, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, pointed out that many problems such as fire and road accidents occur during Loy Krathong Festival. He said the Interior Ministry and related agencies were taking measures to prevent accidents during the upcoming festival, adding that some steps had been taken to prevent accidents from fireworks, water activities, traffic, fire and air navigation.
“We will arrange emergency health services on Loy Krathong Day and also ban the sale of alcohol at event venues. We want everybody to celebrate this festival safely and in line with local customs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has sent a circular to all provinces and districts saying that entertainment will be allowed on Loy Krathong Day but it was up to local authorities’ discretion as to what can be done to mark the day.