Police Threaten Death Penalty for Releasing Sky Lanterns Near Airports

 | Thu 6 Nov 2014 01:16 ICT

CityNews – Police have warned that anyone releasing sky lanterns or aiming laser beams into the sky near airports may face life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
A sky lantern released during Yi Peng. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The warning comes as Chiang Mai celebrates the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivals this week. First Region Provincial Police commissioner Police Major-General Amnuay Nimmano said such actions were considered very dangerous to aircraft and in breach of the air navigation law, Thai PBS reported today.

Those found guilty could face execution or a life sentence, or a lighter sentence of five to 10 years in prison if the damage done was not too severe., the report said.

Police will be strictly monitoring airports to ensure that people do not release sky lanterns or balloons into the sky, it added.

The release of traditional sky lanterns is an important part of the northern Thai Yi Peng festival, which takes place at the same time as Loy Krathong each year.

CityNews reported last week that more than 100 flights to or from Chiang Mai Airport had been cancelled amid fears about passenger safety, as the lanterns can get sucked into jet engines. The cancellations cost the airport around two million baht in revenue, reports said.