'Big Joke' targets foreign lady who griped about bell ringing

'Big Joke' targets foreign lady who griped about bell ringing

The Immigration Bureau joined the bellringing controversy at Wat Sai on Rama III Road as its new chief, Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn, vowed to inspect details of a condo room leasing contract to a foreign woman who complained about the noise.

It was reported that a woman had repeatedly complained about the noise, which she claimed disturbed the residents of a nearby luxury condominium.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate did not identify the complainant in question yesterday but insisted his agency must step in to investigate the legality of the lease contract.

Officers are approaching the issue with "Section 38 of the Immigration Act", he said. A lessor is required by law to inform immigration officers when a foreigner resides in his or her property. Failure to comply with the law will incur punishments, he said.

"The foreign resident is also subject to inspection," Pol Maj Gen Surachate added.

"His or her whereabouts must be the same as the one they give to the officers. Violators of this law will have their visas revoked and be deported back to their country," added Pol Maj Gen Surachate.

The complaint against the pre-dawn bell chiming, as is tradition during the threemonth Buddhist Lent, has been in media spotlight ever since the Bang Kholaem district office instructed the temple to lower the volume of bell ringing.

The order drew protests from local residents and came under heavy criticism on social media.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also warned yesterday "not to fan out" the issue.

District office director Anan Kaipan met abbot Phra Preecha Punnasilo on Thursday to settle the conflict. The monk was quoted as saying that the temple is allowed to continue its practice.

The juristic office of the Star View Rama 3 also made no objection but vowed to find ways to deal with the noise at its condominium.

Bell ringing at Wat Sai is not the only issue to have put the Bang Kholaem district office in hot water. Former district chief Suwat Tansathian had earlier issued a similar order in July when people complained about noise from Bang Uthit mosque on Charoenkrung 99 Road.

Mr Suwat told the mosque, which begins its morning prayer at 4am, to use "appropriate volume" to avoid disturbing the community.

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