Police issue festival 'gun play' warning

Police issue festival 'gun play' warning

Stiff penalties, even for accidental injury

Archayon: Has Loy Krathong concerns
Archayon: Has Loy Krathong concerns

Police are warning ahead of Loy Krathong tonight against people firing guns in the air, while the Ministry of Public Health has urged better safety measures to prevent deaths by drowning during and after the festival.

Celebrating this popular festival by shooting in the air is totally wrong and illegal as it might end up in the death of someone, Royal Thai Police (RTP) spokesman, Pol Maj Gen Archayon Kraithong, said on Monday.

"Those caught doing so will be punished," Pol Maj Gen Archayon said.

The offence could result in up to 5 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of 10,000 baht.

However, if the fired bullet lands on the roof of a house or hits and kills someone, the punishment may be increased to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of 200,000 baht, he said.

The RTP has told police nationwide about the need to warn the public against shooting guns in the air at Loy Krathong and strictly enforce the law, he said.

Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), meanwhile, said statistics collected over the past five years (2017-2021) showed on average of 12 people died as a result of drowning on Loy Krathong day while twice that number of deaths were recorded the following day.

The deaths were divided into common age groups, 45 to 59 (30%) and under 15 (14%), he said.

A common factor resulting in such deaths was swimming while under the influence of alcohol in the case of adults and being left unaccompanied in the case of children, he said.

Many people jumped into cold water in a river in search of money or valuables left in krathong baskets, got a cramp and drowned, he said.

The best course of action to prevent such deaths is not to drink alcohol or leave children alone on Loy Krathong night, and the day after, he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, meanwhile, pointed to the importance of using environmentally-friendly materials to make krathong baskets to minimise the impact on the environment. The PM will today celebrate the festival at an event at Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem, the canal adjacent to Government House.

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