Bangkok nightclub owner to face charges over New Year's fire

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

The owner of the Santika Club, site of the 2009 Bangkok nightclub fire, is to be charged along with twelve other directors over the disaster. 62 people were killed and 229 injured by the blaze, thought to have been triggered by New Year fireworks on the stage, although investigations are ongoing.

"I feel very sorry for what had happened. I want to apologise to victims' family members," said Mr Setsawat, the club's owner. The club had just three exits, of which one was known only to staff and another locked. A number of people died in the stampede for the door. There was also only one fire extinguisher and the venue was only licensed as a snack bar closing at midnight.

Setsawat has already been charged with allowing an underage customer into the club after a 17-year-old student's body was recovered from the charred remnants of the club. He now faces further charges of carelessness resulting in death. The charges will be pressed once paperwork has cleared, police have indicated. 31 people remain in critical condition in hospitals.