Call for safety during Chinese New Year

PHUKET: Don’t sell or play with dangerous fireworks – and be careful with lit joss sticks during Chinese New Year, government officials have warned.

Fire safety and other issues regarding the festivities that begin February 18 prompted a press conference led by Phuket Governor Vorapoj Rattasima. Also addressing the press were Aroon Kerdsom, head of the Phuket Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (ODPM) and Sompoj Sungkapong, head of the Phuket Internal Trade Office (PITO).

Chinese New Year, celebrated by most Thai-Chinese people on Phuket, traditionally involves a ceremony during which many joss sticks are lit in honor of ancestors. Officials have advised vigilance in lighting many joss sticks in order to prevent fires.

The ODPM has launched a public information campaign featuring radio ads warning citizens about fire safety and will assign officers to inspect high-risk areas during festival events.

As in previous years, powerful firecrackers have been banned; only ceremonial firecrackers in strips may be sold or used.

Also discussed was possible price gouging by meat vendors in the run-up to the festival, during which a sumptuous dinner of pork and poultry is traditionally a part.

To combat overpricing, the PITO has organized a wet market next to Queen Sirikit Park on Dibuk Rd. Starting at 8 am daily, the market will enable farmers to sell directly to consumers. At the temporary market, pork will be priced at 100 baht for two kilos.

Phuket News

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