Crane Collapse: Khmer worker, not contractors, face criminal charges

Assumption Convent School students return to school Monday. Image: Assumption Convent School / Facebook
Assumption Convent School students return to school Monday. Image: Assumption Convent School / Facebook

Police today seemed anxious to close out last week’s crane accident that fractured a schoolgirl’s skull and injured nine others after a migrant worker turned himself in.

The top district cop would not answer questions Tuesday afternoon about how the responsible companies or their owners might be held accountable, instead saying the matter was resolved now that a Cambodian worker had been found and compensation agreed to for the accident, which rained debris onto a school gymnasium.

“After we interrogated him, we decided to release him on bail,” Bang Rak police chief Duangchote Suwannajarat told Coconuts Bangkok today, declining to specify the bond amount paid to secure 25-year-old Reth Eng’s release.

Contractors dodge police after crane at illegal site injures Bangkok students

Pressed further about the role of the construction companies, who had been ordered to stop work after previous accidents sent debris onto the Assumption Convent School, the chief abruptly terminated the call by hanging up on a reporter.

The aftermath of Wednesday’s incident has followed the same narrative of numerous other construction accidents that saw developers and construction firms avoid scrutiny while migrant workers shouldered the blame.

As of Friday, the companies had not responded to police requests to appear to answer questions, with the generous – or pliant – authorities extending the deadline to July 2, according to media reports.

None of the contractors have been identified by the authorities. Renovation work to convert the River Garden condos, which had gone on for months despite a city order to stop, was again ordered to halt until the school year ends March 31.

Before hanging up, Duangchote said the crane owner had agreed to pay for the victims’ hospital bills and repairs to the school.

Eng had been sought since the morning of the accident. He faces charges of negligence, Duangchote noted before ending the call. He said they were weighing whether to revoke his permission to work.

A settlement agreement was announced this morning at a meeting attended by relevant local authorities and school officials under which the firm that owned the crane would pay medical and damage expenses as well as the cost to repair the school’s damaged roof.

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Assumption Convent School students return to school Monday. Image: Assumption Convent School / Facebook

After a five-day weekend, Assumption Convent resumed classes Monday.

“Even though we faced a situation that we had never dreamed of, with memories that have been burned into our minds, please know that the school cares deeply and wishes for the very best for all our students,” the school wrote online yesterday in the form of a lengthy poem to welcome students back. “We will move past this together.”

Related stories:

Contractors dodge police after crane at illegal site injures Bangkok students

Crane falls on Bangkok school gymnasium full of schoolgirls

 


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