BANGKOK — For illegally stockpiling more than 120 tons of fireworks just down the road from Bangkok’s City Hall, a company is facing a hefty fine of 1,000 baht, police said Thursday.
Military and police officers raided three shophouses in a residential area along Bamrung Muang Road on Wednesday and found boxes of unregistered firecrackers. They estimated the stockpile weighed over 120,000 kilograms.
The shop operators, a firm called A Y & P, will be charged with storing fireworks for commercial purposes without a license. They face up to one month prison or a 1,000 baht fine, or both. A police commander said he can’t press for a heavier penalty because that’s what the law says.
“I can’t do that. The law was written by the parliament,” deputy metro police chief Panurat Lakboon said. “When it comes to fireworks, no matter how much you have, be it 50 pieces or 50 kilograms, you face same penalty. It’s not like drugs.”
The shopkeepers have yet to meet with police to hear the charges, Panurat said. Since the offense carries less than a three year jail term, it is considered a misdemeanor, and the suspects do not have to turn themselves in barring a warrant from the court, according to Panuwat.
Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang visited the shop on Thursday to inspect the cache. He ordered all fireworks removed within three days.
Panurat added that the fireworks stockpile did not qualify for a more serious, explosives-related offense because the gunpowder agents were not mixed together.
The neighborhood where the store is located has long been a source of illegal street fireworks, though authorities in recent years attempted to rein it in.