Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


No fall guy for an illegal club operation as Godfather owner goes free-

The owner of the Santika Night Club in Bangkok which burned down killing 67 people and injuring another 200, some seriously, today walked free from the Appeal Court after they found him not guilty.

Fire survivior
Wisuk Setsawat, alias Sia Khao, the owner was found not guilty even though these claims were made.

·        * Only two exits were free – one for staff – another was blocked for security reasons.

·        *The club was not even registered as a club but as a private house/ restaurant.

·        * The signature of the city architect approving the club’s design was forged.

 *Only one fire extinguisher was working

 A band called ‘Burn’ was allowed to take in and set off fireworks inside the club.

Between 2004 and 2006, police had filed 47 charges against the club's owners for illegal operation. No charges were filed. In addition no charges were filed after the fire in relation to the fact that the club was allowing in 17-year olds and the club decor was made of higly flammable materials. A co-owner was a senior policeman.

Those originally charged

Wisuk (left)
Wisuk Setsawat,  owner of White and Brothers (2003) Co which ran the pub was initially charged along with the following company and people. But the man left to carry the can was the guy who installed the lighting and sound system. It does not look transparent.


The special effects installer Focus Light Sound System Co.  Fined: The equivalent of £500 

Boonchu Laosihanart, Manager of Focus Light Sound System Co

Thawatchai Sithumma, Santika Operations Manager

Pongthep Jindaits, Santika Entertainment Manager;

Wuthipong Wailikree, Santika's marketing manager;

And Sarawut Ariya, lead singer of the band Burn, who was accused of lighting fireworks that might have sparked the fire in the pub.

British survivor Alex Wargacki from Finchley, N. London, said he was 'saved by an angel' -
somebody pulled him out of the inferno to freedom. Said he worked as a 'Forex' dealer
and demanded US$500 to pose for this picture: Picture Andrew Chant.

Of all these Boonchu  and 'Sia Khao' were the only persons convicted. Both remained on bail and Boonchu, who was sentenced to three years in jail is expected to appeal to the Thai Supreme Court. ‘Sia Khao’ had originally been sentenced to with Boonch to three years.

The original conviction of  'Sia Khao' was trumpeted as a rare victory for Thai justice.

Comment: This is really not good. I have not seen the judgement. I guess it will eventually by published in full. But not even Thais will see this as a transparent judgement. Just as in every disaster - like the One-Two-Go aircrash on Phuket, nobody important gets to take the wrap. Life goes on. But the lives of many in this fire and on Phuket did not. 


  1. For people who don't know, the term 'Sia' is a Chinese word used before a name to describe a 'rich influential Chinese businessman.' In Thai they use 'Seh' for high ranking military men, usually Colonel or above. I personally think 'Sia' is very similar to the Italian term 'Don' when you see the people who are called by this term.

    This case is very normal, originally convicted then years later released and found not guilty by the appeals court. I can't ever remember a "Sia' or 'Seh' ever convicted or jailed over anything in the 30 years I've been following Thai news. The only case I remember was Chalor, the Police General jailed for murder in the Saudi gems case. A Thai friend of mine was in jail with him and said he had an entourage taking care of him in jail and the warders saluted him in respect.

    In a country where face and image are everything, money removes all sense of shame very quickly. When I hear Thais talking about karma, I always laugh and tell them if they truly believed in karma they wouldn't do the things they do. It's amazing how many claim to be Buddhists and believe in cause and effect, then act and behave in a manner that can't help but cause negative effects! If they believe this they must accept they alone are responsible for the inept and corrupt system. They alone have created it. It's not evil spirits or pot plants facing the wrong way or some other Feng Shui bullshit.

    Talking about justice or equality under the law in a feudal state like Thailand is wasting your breath. Status, money, power and image come way before human rights and Thai's haven't reached a level of consciousness where a fair justice system can appear. It's basically justice for sale to the highest bidder. If enough money changes hands any crime can be forgiven.

    1. Hear, hear Weapon. I got pilloried in a review of my ebook on Amazon and was accused of being uninformed and racist when I only touched on the edge of some of this stuff. You say it so vociferously with 30 years experience . I have only been in Thailand for 5 years. I love the Country and the grass roots folk but don't have blinkers on like so many.

  2. There seems to be no way to learn about how bad Thailand is until you get here and get caught up in the web of corruption. Thailand is a wonderful place to visit (MOSTLY) and live if you never have to come in contact with anyone in an official position.

  3. Well that's it then...business as usual, the only comment I will make is that Ally's overall take is bang on!

    To add a minor comment, a noticeable trait here everywhere is the lacking of any common sense or logical thought process, a simple example the club was constructed of highly inflammable materials and still they allow a group to light fireworks inside it.

    Finally. the the lighting engineer gets the blame, yeah right, move on... as I said it's business as usual.