Court orders all Seri Villa markets shut down

One of the "angry aunties" seen using an axe to hit a white pickup truck blocking her driveway in February, an incident culminating in Wednesday's court ruling that all five markets at Seri Villa housing estate be demolished. (Photo captured from an online video clip)

The Central Administrative Court on Wednesday ordered City Hall to dismantle all five markets in the Seri Villa housing estate within 60 days and to pay compensation to the four plaintiffs.

The court set compensation for each plaintiff at 368,400 baht plus 7.5% interest since 2013, and ordered that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration not even allow annoying street vendors in front of plaintiffs' residences.

The ruling is the culmination of headline-making resident-rage involving two women who became known as the angry axe-wielding aunties, fed up with the pollution and inconvenience caused by illegal markets.

Four people filed suit in the Administrative Court, including the "angry aunties", laying complaints against markets in their housing estate, which is next to Rama IX public park in Prawet district.

They complained about workers looking into their houses from a market roof, spotlights beamed into their houses at night, air pollution from vehicles visiting the markets, noise pollution from loudspeakers at the markets, and waste clogging the drains.

The court ruled the area had long been designated for residential use only and the BMA was wrong to permit the establishment of the markets there.

The illegal status of the market was brought to light by an incident in February that made news headlines nationwide.

Resident Boonsri Saengyoktrakan, one of the plaintiffs, and her sister used an axe and a metal pole to damage a pickup truck that was blocking their driveway.

The sisters live next door to one of the five markets, and complained they had been forced to put up with the frequent blocking of their driveway, and numerous other nuisances, for years. It had finally become too much.

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