Death to rocket, lantern launchers

The Transport Ministry has threatened to invoke the death penalty on anyone who endangers aviation with homemade rockets for bung fai or floating lanterns used in many festivals.

  • Published: 18/06/2013 at 07:47 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

The ministry also sent a stern warning to community radio operators, alleging that some of them are using frequencies used between pilots and air traffic controllers. It did not threaten them with death, however.

The move was due to rising concern about aviation safety during festivals, and because community radio operators have ignored previous ministry warnings.

Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree, former national police chief who now is permanent secretary for transport, on Tuesday reminded launchers of locally made rockets and floating lanterns that the death penalty could be invoked on anyone who "causes danger to aircraft" under the 2008 Aviation Transport Law.

Radio frequency obstruction is subject to 15 years' jail term and a fine up to 30,000 baht, he added.

"Bung Fai, floating lanterns and community radio frequencies are posing problems for air traffic and could cause accidents. We will stiffen law enforcement,'' Pol Gen Wichean said. No accident has so far been reported.

Thailand has 2,000 legally registered community radio stations and another 5,000 stations which operate outside regulations. Most have very local coverage, using low-powered transmitters.

The Department of Civil Aviation claimed that the most serious concern was the illegal radio stations. Some have interfered with air traffic controllers because of their substandard equipment and transmitters, department chief Woradej Harnprasert said.

About the author

Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
Position: Reporter

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