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People who launch lanterns into sky around airports risk death penalty: Loy Krathong warning

People who launch lanterns into sky around airports risk death penalty: Loy Krathong warning

People celebrating Loy Krathong next week have been warned they could face the death penalty if they release airborne lanterns in safety zones.

Lanterns, balloons, fireworks, laser lights, drones and other items that might damage aircraft are banned around Thailand’s six main airports on Tuesday and Wednesday, Airports of Thailand (AOT) said on Friday.

The six AOT airports are Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai (Mae Fah Luang), Phuket and Hat Yai in Songkhla.

Skies in Chiang Mai and across the North are usually full of khom loi or candlelit paper lanterns at Loy Krathong.

People who launch lanterns into sky around airports risk death penalty: Loy Krathong warning

In a Facebook announcement, AOT said it was enforcing the Air Navigation Act, which bans the release of floating lanterns, rockets, fireworks, laser beams and similar objects in air safety zones.

According to the act, causing damage to an aircraft that renders it incapable of flight, or which endangers or is likely to endanger its safety in flight, is punishable with the death penalty, life imprisonment and/or and a fine of 600,000-800,000 baht.

People who want to launch airborne lanterns outside air safety zones should seek permission from their local provincial administration, AOT said.

In Chiang Mai, airborne lanterns are banned in six districts. The ban covers Muang Chiang Mai, Hang Dong, Saraphi (Khua Mung, Don Kaew, Tha Wang Tan, Nong Phueng and Sansai subdistricts), Mae Rim (Don Kaew, Rim Tai, Mae Sa, Muang Kaew, Rim Nuea subdistricts), Sansai (Nong Han subdistrict), and San Pa Tong (Tung Tom subdistricts).

Launching airborne lanterns during Loy Krathong is permitted outside of air safety zones in the hours between 7pm and 1am, AOT said.

So far, 53 flights have been cancelled and 24 flights rescheduled over the festival period.

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