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Tiger Group CEO Piya Isaramalai and Sara Entertainment Co Ltd have been found guilty of all charges against them for the lethal blaze at the busy Tiger Discotheque nightclub on Soi Bangla, Patong, that killed four people and injured 11 others in the early hours of August 17, 2012.
Piya Isaramalai and Sara Entertainment were found guilty of causing death by negligence, causing physical and mental injury and trading after hours, Phuket Prosecutor Patthira Phumisutthaphol confirmed.
The sentences for all three charges against both parties were handed down on July 20, she added.
“The court sentenced Piya Isaramalai to three years in prison and he and Sara Entertainment were fined a total of B600,000,” Ms Patthira said.
“As Piya had never been charged or imprisoned before, the court reduced the penalty to two years’ suspended sentence.”
The maximum penalty for causing death through negligence is 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to B20,000, Ms Patthira confirmed.
By court order, Piya must report to his probation officer six times in two years, Ms Patthira added.
Piya and Sara Entertainment were also ordered to pay a combined B4 million in compensation to the families of those who died in the blaze, and a further B1,614,862 for funeral services and other expenses related to the deaths of the four people.
The flames claimed the lives of British tourist Michael Tzouvanni 24; French tourist Emmanuel Becard 30; Thai nationals Duangporn Budklor, 34, and Nipaphat Sudtasorn, 36. (See story here.)
Tiger Group lawyer and vice president Thamrongsak Boonrak confirmed that Piya and Sara Entertainment will not appeal the verdicts or sentences handed down.
However, he told The Phuket News that the family of one of the foreign victims has refused to accept court-ordered compensation.
“They have asked for more money, so they have to file the case to court again,” he said.
“We have lost over B137 million in this case during the past two years,” added Mr Thamrongsak. “We have to support all of our workers in 47 bars and take care of so many things.
“I hope this case will come to an end very soon or otherwise the Tiger Group will come to an end first. And if we come to an end, can you imagine that how many people will be out of jobs in Phuket?”