18 Feb 2010

Four charged over nightclub fire in Thailand

8:04 am on 18 February 2010

Four people have been formally charged over a New Year's Eve nightclub fire in Bangkok that left 67 people dead.

Three others have been indicted, but were not in court.

More than 200 people, including tourists from Australia, Britain and France, were injured in the Santika club blaze in the early hours of 2009.

The BBC reports the fire started after fireworks were set off to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Hundreds of people were trapped inside the building, which had no proper fire exits, no sprinkler system and no emergency lights.

Both the police and the justice ministry carried out investigations into the disaster.

The ministry found the club had been registered as a private residence and not an entertainment venue, so was not subject to safety inspections.

The club was operating in a zone where nightclubs were banned and a city architect's signature approving the building design had been forged.

Most of the people killed in the disaster were Thai, but the Bangkok Post reported three Singaporeans, one Japanese and a Burmese national were among the dead.