Bangkok club owner jailed over deadly fire

BANGKOK • The owner of a Bangkok nightclub was jailed for three years yesterday over a deadly New Year's nightclub blaze nearly seven years ago that killed more than 60 people including Singaporeans.

Visuk Setsawat was found guilty of negligence over an inferno at the upscale Santika club, Bangkok's Supreme Court said.

The blaze, which killed 67 people, began shortly after the crowd had counted down to 2009, when fireworks were let off as a rock band called Burn played on stage.

"The defendant was careless - which caused death and injuries from the blaze," the court said, adding that more than 1,000 people were crammed into a venue that should have held half that number.

The club, located in a swanky neighbourhood in the Thai capital, was popular with Bangkok's moneyed set as well as expatriates and tourists.

Most victims were Thai. Three Singaporeans, one Japanese and a Myanmar national were among the dead, while more than 200 were injured including some from Australia, France and Britain.

Some of the victims were crushed to death in the stampede to get out, and witnesses at the time described scenes of chaos as flames rained down from the ceiling and revellers shoved and trampled on screaming victims to flee.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'Bangkok club owner jailed over deadly fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe