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Two building officials set to surrender

Boss of collapsed condo and foreman contact police, but one suspect 'elusive'

TWO MORE suspects wanted over the death of many building workers when a condominium being built in Pathum Thani province collapsed on Monday have contacted police to announce they will surrender shortly - but another suspect remains elusive, police said yesterday.

Provincial police chief Maj-General Smithi Mukdasanit said Chanaichon Kerdthes, an executive with the condominium's owner Plook Plang Co Ltd, and the project's foreman, Jira Khanman, planned to surrender.

Chanaichon has reportedly been running a business in Cambodia.

But Kanyarat Heepthong, the legal representative for the project, is still at large.

Another four suspects have been released on bail - Bt100,000 each - after turning themselves in.

The seven have been charged with causing the deaths of 14 Thai and foreign workers and injuring 25 people through carelessness.

The building, U Place, is located in Klong Luang district.

The families of the dead were yesterday given at total of Bt1.09 million at a ceremony overseen by Pathum Thani Governor Phongsathorn Sajjacholphan.

Five workers remain in hospital and will be compensated at various rates depending on their injuries and treatment.

Project representative Surachai Baojanya expressed regret over the collapse and said the company had the responsibility to compensate all affected workers.

Phongsathorn said further payments would be given soon to affected workers under social security regulations.

Charity offers help

Charity foundation Poh Teck Tung yesterday handed Bt10,000 to the families of each dead worker to go towards funeral costs. It also gave between Bt3,000 and Bt5,000 to the injured workers.

Rescue workers from the Ruam Katanyu Foundation expressed regret over the deaths despite regarding their mission a success in terms of retrieving of the bodies.

Foundation spokesman Anyawuth Phoamphai recounted how a worker, Phichet Kamphoochart, had communicated with rescuers after being stuck under the rubble for over 19 hours.

His lower body was trapped under an entire concrete floor and he eventually died.

Anyawuth said that when rescuers asked Phichet if he wanted his wife to keep talking to him, he said he would meet her by himself when he was freed.

Rescue worker Naphat Klom-kliang said he felt sorry that people had died but he regarded the mission a success.

"We finally retrieved all of them and sent them home, although not all of them were retrieved alive," he said.


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