Probe over boxing match set to begin
Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsomgpong yesterday ordered a probe into Lumpinee Boxing Stadium's alleged defiance of a cabinet resolution passed on March 3 asking all parties to avoid organising sporting events as it risked exacerbating the spread of Covid-19, said a source.
Despite the March 3 cabinet request, the army-owned boxing stadium which is run by the Army Welfare Department held a boxing event on March 6 which has become a source of many of the reported Covid-19 infections, said the source. A quarter of those who have contracted Covid-19 have been associated with those who attended, according to the Public Health Ministry.
Apirat: Looking for answers over event
The move came after activist Srisuwan Janya said yesterday he would petition Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to order an investigation regarding the alleged misconduct by the boxing stadium management in connection with the match. Maj Gen Rachit Arunrangsi, director-general of the Army Welfare Department, has tested positive for the virus.
As a result, Gen Apirat has ordered the chief of the army's Directorate of Personnel to form a panel to look into how the boxing event was organised.
The boxing stadium had received a letter from the Sports Authority of Thailand reminding it that it should pay heed to the March 3 resolution. Mr Srisuwan indicated it must be made clear whether anyone defied the resolution and related orders issued by the prime minister. It must also be ascertained if the punishment for violating the resolution and orders applies equally to everyone or if there is an exception for military top brass.
Mana Nimitmongkol, director of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, said he wondered why executives of the boxing stadium had dared to flout the resolution.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people may have contracted the virus from those who were in contact with individuals at the boxing event and they risk spreading the virus to many parts of the country. "That clearly was negligence [on the organiser's part]. Over the past weeks, parties, religious events, weddings and concerts in every province have been cancelled as requested under this cabinet resolution," he said.
"Is it big money that some boxing people and state officials were after?" the director added.
Mr Mana has urged the government to probe state officials involved in arranging the boxing match as they should be liable for disciplinary and legal actions. He also called on society to condemn them.