Reward Offered For Hooligans Behind Thai Football Firestorm

BANGKOK — Thailand’s football association offered a reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of hooligans who lit flares, filling part of Rajamangala National Stadium with smoke and fire during a weekend match.

The flares were reportedly ignited by a hardcore fan group called Ultras Thailand each time Thailand scored during the match against Indonesia on Saturday at the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Team Thailand secured their position as Southeast Asian champions for the fifth time after defeating Indonesia 2-0. But the flare incident could cost Thai football fines upward of 700,000 baht and possibly other punishments by FIFA, according to the Football Association of Thailand.

Police were still gathering information in order to seek warrants for those related to the incident, Maj. Gen. Nanthachart Suppamongkon said Monday

Igniting flares in stadiums, which happens at football matches worldwide, is illegal in Thailand.

Nanthachart said the gang could be charged with causing a public disturbance, which carries a maximum punishment of one month in jail and a fine of 10,000 baht.

Football Association President Somyot Pumpanmuang said Sunday he would give a 30,000 baht reward for information about each person involved.

Somyot said the association had photos and videos of the incident which would be used to help identify suspects.

Many photos and footage were also shared online by other fans who were upset and blamed Ultras Thailand.

Somyot, a former police chief, said he sought help from current National Police Chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda to bring the group to justice. He also urged anyone injured by the flares to file complaints with the police.

In addition to a large fine, the association said Thailand risked being banned from hosting home games or see its fans barred from entry.

It wasn’t the first time Ultras Thailand was caught up in conflict. The group was behind previous flare incidents at matches between Thailand and the Philippines in the same competition in December 2014.

In response to the outrage, the group said in 2015 it would knock it off. Ultras Thailand has yet to respond publicly to the latest incident.