Army boxing promoters 'wrong' to ignore virus warning

Army boxing promoters 'wrong' to ignore virus warning

Armed forces chief sets up inquiry

A health official sprays disinfectant at Lumpinee boxing stadium in Bang Khen district, Bangkok, on March 15. The rapid spread of Covid-19 has been partly blamed on the army's decision to ignore warnings and go ahead with boxing at the stadium on March 6. (Photo: Lumpinee stadium Facebook)
A health official sprays disinfectant at Lumpinee boxing stadium in Bang Khen district, Bangkok, on March 15. The rapid spread of Covid-19 has been partly blamed on the army's decision to ignore warnings and go ahead with boxing at the stadium on March 6. (Photo: Lumpinee stadium Facebook)

The army was wrong to organise Muay Thai bouts at Lumpinee stadium on March 6 despite a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) warning, and an inquiry was underway to find out who was to blame, defence forces chief Gen Pornpipat Benyasri said on Thursday.

Health authorities were blaming the rapid spread of Covid-19 partly on the boxing events and the failure of those present to go into self-isolation, Gen Pornpipat said.

A mistake was made and those responsible were under investigation.

"There are many causes of the spread (of the virus) and one of them stems from the military," he said.

A source said that army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong, who is chairman of the Lumpinee boxing stadium, had ordered a committee to investigate the organisation of Muay Thai bouts there on March 6.

Those being investigated included Maj Gen Rachit Arunrangsee, director-general of the Army Welfare Department and director of the Lumpinee boxing stadium. The Army Welfare Department supervises the boxing stadium and Maj Gen Rachit is among those infected with Covid-19.

It was reported that the Sports Authority of Thailand on March 4 asked the management of the Lumpinee boxing stadium to cancel its March 6 event. SAT cited a cabinet resolution on March 3 calling for the suspension of sports events on worries about the spread of the disease among crowds. 

Activist Srisuwan Janya said on Thursday he would ask Prime Minister Prayut to also investigate army chief Gen Apirat over the March 6 bouts, because Gen Apirat was the Lumpinee stadium's chairman.


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