Two arrested for high-flying Bangkok airport protest

April 24th, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by admin  

Bangkok, April 24 (DPA) Thai police arrested two people living near Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport for allegedly releasing fire-lanterns into the night sky to protest against aircraft noise, media reports said Thursday. After 10 “yipengs”, or fire-powered traditional lanterns, were spotted floating in the sky south of the airport Tuesday night, the police were dispatched to the Bangkwang Lang Housing estate - one of the communities seeking compensation from the airport for noise pollution - to round up some suspects, reported the Bangkok Post.

Police arrested Thongsai Sannang, 65, and her nephew Suchart Chantawong, 32, both of whom denied responsibility for launching the lanterns.

“I was just looking at the lanterns, just like other people were doing,” said Thongsai.

Communities living near Suvarnabhumi Airport have complained of high noise levels since the airport opened in 2006 and threatened “yipeng” protests to call attention to their plight.

The hot-air lanterns pose a hazard to aircraft as they could be sucked into engines and spark a fire.

The Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT) has agreed to buy houses with a noise exposure forecast (NEF) of 40 and compensate others to allow for renovations. But many residents are dissatisfied with the rate of the payments offered.

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