A number of warning signs have been put up around predominant areas of Phuket Town, especially where the Vegetarian Festival parades pass, advising against the use of large fireworks such as Ba Jangs, Chicken Eggs or Rockets which can be very dangerous if set off among crowds of people.
Speaking to The Phuket News today (Oct 15), Phuket City Mayor, Somjai Suwansupapana said, “We have not only put signs up to warn locals, we have also sent a warning letter to tour companies in Phuket asking their tour guides to warn tourist.”
Many Chinese tourists who are in Phuket to join the festival also like to set off fireworks as it is seen as part of the festival ritual.
“Last year we found about a group of Chinese tourists who had between 60–70 fireworks which nearly accidentally exploded. Luckily, police and volunteers managed to put them out before they did. This incident could have been very serious,” Mr Somjai said.
Yesterday, assistant Phuket provincial protection officer Jiradech Burarak together with 15 volunteers went to Phuket Town and participating shrines to check for people setting off large fireworks and seized some from teenagers who were setting them off in the street.
A large number were also seized from firework sellers in Saphan Hin.
“This is their first time of wrong doing so we did not arrest them. We seized all their fireworks and gave them a verbal warning,” Mr Jiradech said.
“If they are found to be setting off or selling fireworks again they will be arrested,” he added.
The penalty for selling or setting off fireworks in public places without permission is between six months and five years in prison and/or a fine of up to B1,000 or both.
Meanwhile, a teenager who was setting off fireworks at Tha Rua Shrine on Tuesday (Oct 13) was hospitalised when one exploded in his hand.
He was taken to Thalang Hospital where he was given stitches to a wound on his left hand. He was released from hospital later the same day.