BANGKOK — A celebrity talk show host was convicted by a court on Friday for hosting a birthday party in Bangkok that later led to a cluster of coronavirus infection, defying health regulations imposed by the government.
Techin “DJ Matoom” Ploypetch was found guilty of breaching the Emergency Decree’s ban on gatherings and given a sentence of one month in prison, though the jail term was reduced to a one-year probation because he confessed to all charges. Techin was also fined 10,000 baht.
According to the prosecutors, Techin hosted a birthday party at a rooftop restaurant in Banyan Tree Hotel on the night of Jan. 9. He also invited up to 34 people to an afterparty and drank together inside his suite at the same hotel, despite a ban on gatherings imposed by the Emergency Decree, the prosecutors said.
Nine of the guests at the party later tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the prosecutors, who said the party posed grave threats to the public.
Techin himself was infected with the coronavirus and spent several weeks in hospital until he recovered. The celebrity reported to the police on Friday; he was charged, sent to court, and convicted on the same day.
Speaking outside a police station, Techin said he repented his action.
“This is the worst mistake in my life,” the talk show host said at a news conference. “I want to apologize to society. This won’t happen again. I’d like to apologize to everyone who was affected by my reckless behavior. It’s the most costly lesson of my life.”
There is no word on whether Banyan Tree Hotel would face any legal action for agreeing to host Techin’s party.
Thailand logged 130 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, including 116 domestic infections and 14 “imported cases” inside state quarantines. The total number of infections now stands at 25,241, with 83 deaths associated with the virus.