UPDATE: Resort in eastern Thailand denies media claims
A resort in eastern Thailand has released a statement yesterday denying media claims that police accused its foreign directors of wrongdoing. The statement refuted other claims as well, and said police have not issued arrest warrants on any of the resort’s directors. The accusations are in light of a fire that gutted one of the resort’s villas in March. Media outlets had reported that police were searching for 2 of the resort’s British executives.
The statement stressed that directors of the resort, Soneva Kiri Resort & Residences, were fully cooperating with authorities. It also said the resort has not been informed that the investigation has been concluded. The statement added that the cause of the fire has not been officially communicated to the resort.
The statement included 4 key points:
- “The police did not accuse our foreign directors of any wrongdoing, nor were these individuals requested to be personally involved in the police investigation.
- Related to the above point, Soneva is fully cooperating with the authorities, and the two foreign directors did not flee the country to avoid criminal proceedings, as stated in some news outlets. We would like to clarify that the police did not issue arrest warrants to any of our directors, nor were they accused of any personal wrongdoing. In addition, our foreign directors are not residents of Thailand, and they were not in the country at the time.
- The number of allegations levelled by the police is inaccurate in some news outlets.
- According to the insurance company policy, any compensation claims cannot be paid out until after the investigation is concluded.”
Soneva Kiri said it understood the emotional distress that the fire had caused. It said its insurance company is in close communication with the guests regarding damages and liabilities.
The insurance company, it said, has requested the necessary supporting documents in order to further proceed with the claims. The statement added that Soneva Kiri frequently inspects its fire safety systems to meet safety standards.
After a fire gutted a resort villa in Thailand’s eastern province of Trat in March, 3 executives are being charged. The charges include causing a fire by negligence, causing damages to people’s property, endangering other persons, and allowing others to use the building for hotel business without obtaining a license from the local officials. The massive fire broke out at the Soneva Kiri Resort & Residences on Koh Kut island.
After months of gathering evidence, Royal Thai Police announced the charges yesterday. One executive, 37 year old Patchaya Aawawanon, has presented herself to acknowledge the allegations. But police are still tracking down 2 British executives. The executives are 45 year old Sonashah Shivdasani, and 40 year old Karl French. The company Tropical Island Ltd is also being charged.
A team from Royal Thai Police showed up at Trat Provincial Police Station yesterday to follow up on the investigation. RTP’s Assistant Commissioner General Sompong Chingduang said…
“Investigation revealed that the resort’s Villa 63, where the fire started, had never been inspected for fire safety and that the company had been renting it out to guests without notifying the registrar as required by the Hotel Act of 2004.”
Sompong noted that the company also failed to make sure that its fire alarm system was functional, causing the blaze to spread all over the resort.
All villa guests escaped the fire, but some were injured. One injured guest was famous paediatrician Jiraporn Arunakul, who fractured her spine when she escaped trying to climb over her balcony.
SOURCE: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand
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