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A Thai court issued arrest warrants Monday for the owner and manager of a trendy Bangkok nightclub where 66 revelers perished in a New Year's Eve fire and stampede, police said.

Wisuth Setsawat, the owner of Santika Club, and club manager Suriya Ritrabue have been charged with negligence resulting in the death and injuries of others, Deputy National Police Commissioner Gen. Jongrak Jutanont said.

"More than 1,000 people were allowed into the building, which has a capacity for only 500 people," Jongrak said. "The safety measures were also dysfunctional. Fire exits were not clearly marked. Automatic fire extinguishers were not present."

Police have said the fire was likely sparked by a fireworks display on the nightclub's stage.

The two have also been charged with allowing in underage customers. A 17-year-old was found among the dead.

The maximum penalty for negligence is 10 years in prison and a fine of not more than 20,000 baht ($573). Allowing in underage customers carries a fine of 50,000 baht ($1,433).

The fire raced through the two-story building shortly after the New Year's countdown, sending hundreds of panicked guests running for the main entrance. Victims were killed by the blaze, smoke inhalation and crushed in the stampede to get out.

Among the dead were three Singaporeans, one Japanese and one Myanmar national.

Jongrak said several other people were being sought for questioning in the case, including staffers of the company hired to put on the fireworks display.


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