‘Real owner’ of Mountain B nightclub released on bail for 1 million baht cash

Pattaya Provincial Court released the “real owner” of Mountain B nightclub on bail for one million baht in cash yesterday afternoon. Police say Somyot “Sia Yot” Panprasong is the prime investor and mastermind behind the illegal nightclub, which went up in flames on August 5, claiming the lives of 19 people.

Police put out an arrest warrant for 55 year old Sia Yot on Monday after they gathered evidence that he was the real owner of Mountain B nightclub in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district and had used his son’s name instead of his own on the “restaurant’s” paperwork. His son – 27 year old “Sia B”- was released on bail for 300,000 baht on August 8.

Yesterday, relatives of the deceased and injured travelled to Pattaya Court with lawyer Ronnarong Kaewphet to file a petition against Sia Yot’s release. The group feared that Sia Yot would attempt to flee the country and wouldn’t pay the compensation he owed to victims of the fire if he was granted bail.

The court released Sia Yot on the condition that he would wear an electronic monitoring (EM) bracelet and wouldn’t tamper with the evidence in the ongoing investigation.

Chairman of the Fire Protection Committee of the Engineering Institute of Thailand Busakorn Saensuk and a team of experts inspected Mountain B’s remains yesterday morning. The inspection revealed that the interior of the venue did not match the proposed building plan and that the club had been built in a different area than originally proposed.

The inspection revealed that the club’s single exit point was a major factor causing people to not escape the fire in time. The exit door was not wide enough, and for some reason, was locked on the night of the fire, delaying the evacuation significantly.

The materials chosen to construct the building were another reason the fire became so deadly so quickly, according to yesterday’s inspection. The exact cause of the fire is still unknown, but the cheap sound absorption panels that lined the walls of the venue, which “burn as fast as paper,” caused the fire to spread in seconds. The tragedy could have most likely been avoided had the venue’s owner chosen to spend 200 baht more a panel for non-flammable panels, according to soundproofing experts.

Evidence is still being collected and is expected to be presented to police in another one to two weeks.


Pattaya News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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