Taiwan firm faces huge claims for damages after factory explosion in Samut Prakarn, Thailand
Following an explosion at its factory in Thailand last week, Taiwanese company Ming Dih Group Corp. faces claims for damages of more than 423 million Thai baht (US$12.91 million) from over 1,000 locals impacted by the blast, according to Thai newspaper reports.
Citing Mongkol Onkaew, the police chief in Bang Kaew District, Samut Prakan Provence, where the factory is located, the Bangkok Post and The Nation have reported that a total of 1,266 people filed for claims for damages against the company at the precinct from July 5-11.
Preliminary estimates of property losses caused by the explosion at the Ming Dih factory on July 5 exceed 423 million Thai baht, Mongkol was cited as saying, noting that the blast destroyed about 100 houses, 138 cars and 12 motorcycles.
Mongkol said he expects more people to come forward and seek compensation for their losses.
Meanwhile, Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said Ming Dih will have to relocate its factory if it wishes to continue to operate in Thailand. He did not elaborate further.
Ming Dih Chemical Co. (Thailand) was built in 1998 to produce expandable polystyrene (EPS), a white foam plastic material produced from solid beads of polystyrene. EPS is primarily used for packaging and insulation.
On July 5, the factory, located about 40 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, was hit by a powerful explosion that caused a fire, resulting in the death of a 19-year-old firefighter and injuries to more than 40 people, including two Taiwanese executives.
The blaze was eventually extinguished at 5 a.m. the following day, 26 hours after it started.
The explosion was so powerful that the local government evacuated residents within a 5-kilometer radius of the blast site concerned at the possibility of poisonous fumes and further explosions.
Over 80,000 people were affected by the blast, according to the local authorities, and at least 100 houses damaged.
The cause of the explosion is still being investigated.
In a statement issued on July 6, Ming Dih apologized to everyone impacted by the accident and said it will take full responsibility and pay compensation once the cause of the explosion is determined.
The company thanked the Thai government and everyone who participated in rescue efforts, adding that it is deeply saddened by the death of the young firefighter and injuries sustained to others.