20 June 2019
THE RENOVATION work next to Bangkok’s Assumption Convent School is being done without a permit and the operators had been told to suspend all activities since April 1, Bangkok Governor Pol General Aswin Kwanmuang said, after construction materials fell into the school compound yesterday, injuring 10 students.
The city administration said it would file a police complaint against the construction firm for recklessness causing injuries and property damage, as well as for violating building control regulations. Police, meanwhile, are looking for the worker who was operating the crane in question to testify and possibly face recklessness charges.
The governor added that earlier, Bang Rak superintendent Pol Colonel Doungchote Suwanjaras, had taken photographs of 80 workers at the site to check on their activities and their legal status. Doungchote was inspecting the route near the school as part of preparations for the June 22-23 Asean Summit.
Aswin said that once forensic police have finished investigating the site, public works engineers will have the crane and scaffolding removed to prevent a recurrence of the incident.
The school, meanwhile, suspended classes for today after 10 schoolgirls were wounded yesterday at 10am when the crane on top of the River Garden Hotel broke and fell, bringing down construction materials that fell through the roof of the school’s basketball court.
The crane remains stuck at the top of the hotel building.
Of the injured students, who were rushed to Lerdsin and Saint Louis Hospitals, one has been kept back by doctors at Lerdsin for observation due to a brain concussion.
Assistant abbot Father Winai Ritthiboonchai revealed that there were four previous instances of the school roof being damaged by falling construction material, which prompted the school to file a complaint with the district office in a bid to get the construction suspended.
“However, we were advised to file a civil lawsuit, because the falling construction material had not caused any deaths. I found this reasoning unacceptable, so I took my complaint to the deputy Bangkok governor,” Father Winai said.
Aswin concurred, saying he had heard that the hotel owner had negotiated with the school twice before, apologising for the previous incidents and promising to fix the problems. However, the governor said legal action is required to prevent a recurrence of such accidents.
Wanlop Suwandee, chief adviser to the governor, insisted that the Bang Rak District Office had not ignored the school’s complaints and had suspended the project since April 1.
He said the hotel had sought permission to “repair” the building, but instead it began renovating it. As for the latest incident that led to injuries, the hotel claimed it stemmed from an attempt to install a metal fence around the under-renovation area, Wanlop said, adding that city officials will soon file a police complaint to punish those involved.