By Pratch Rujivanarom
Ratchapon Sirithaworn, a legal expert and owner of the Facebook fanpage “LawByRachaponsLawyer”, which provides knowledge on law, cautioned people to celebrate Songkran within the limit of laws.
He said offences such as drinking alcohol in prohibited areas or splashing water randomly can lead to high fines or even being jailed.
Ratchapon revealed on his Facebook fanpage that many minor offences in the eyes of the public have very severe punishments and urged the people to celebrate Songkran with discretion or they might find themselves in prison for their ‘minor’ crimes.
“Even though splashing water on other people is culturally accepted during Songkran Festival, as it is seen as an enjoyable celebration, this enjoyment can turn into a criminal offence if we soak someone who does not intend to get into a water fight, or causes them damage,” he said.
He explained that splashing water on random people and causing damage to their valuables such as mobile phones is a criminal offence under Article 358 of the Criminal Code. Offenders are subjected to punishments of up to three years in jail or Bt60,000 fine.
He also warned that even though no damage may have been done to another’s belongings, the act of splashing water can be considered physical harmful and offenders can be charged with battery and given a month’s imprisonment or Bt10,000 fine.
Ratchapon gave examples of five other criminal offences regularly committed during Songkran: up to 10 years imprisonment for celebratory shooting; 10 years in jail for sexual harassment; six months jail for drinking alcohol inside a driving vehicle or at a petrol station; and Bt5,000 fine for indecent behaviour in public.