Following a devastating fireworks warehouse explosion that occurred on July 29, which claimed 12 lives, injured 121 people, and caused damage to 292 houses, investigators said the owners of the warehouse, identified as Sompong Nakul and Piyanuch Peungwirawat have been on the run and are suspected to be hiding in neighboring Malaysia.
According to Narathiwat police, the couple has not turned themselves in despite being summoned for questioning. Reports suggest that their business is allegedly connected to influential figures in the province, and they are believed to be backed by local politicians involved in smuggling activities, including fireworks, cigarettes, liquor, narcotics, and workers.
The couple’s association with a previous incident in 2016 has also raised concerns. They were arrested for storing and selling 60 tonnes of fireworks and flammable materials without a permit, but the case was not taken to the provincial court, leading to questions about potential corruption and irregularities.
High-profile activist Achariya Ruengrattanapong has called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fireworks warehouse explosion in Narathiwat province.
Achariya emphasized that bringing fireworks into Narathiwat, which is governed by an emergency decree and Internal Security Act, requires proper approvals, raising concerns about potential irregularities in the process.