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Wednesday, 8 April, 1998, 20:59 GMT 21:59 UK
Bangkok governor's trip to the gutter
Bangkok
Bangkok: watch out for open manholes
Thai newspapers are reporting that the streets of the capital, Bangkok, may become safer for pedestrians after an unusual incident involving the city's governor.

The governor, Bhichit Rattakul, was walking with officials to a ceremony to lay a wreath of flowers at a monument to a famous Thai king when he decided to inspect a manhole for safety.

Then, suddenly, he almost disappeared from view.

Mr Bhichit had stumbled through an open manhole into a sewer and was nearly up to his waist in the gutter.

He is now suffering from swollen and bruised knees.

Mr Bhichit said: "I think that this is a good lesson because the governor has to feel the same pain as the people at large."

The newspapers say that now the governor realises how dangerous Bangkok's streets are for pedestrians, he is more likely to introduce a campaign to improve safety.

As a result of his experience, Mr Bhichit says he has ordered officials to undertake a manhole watch to minimise the dangers in walking along Bangkok's streets.

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Governor of Bangkok, Bhichit Rattakul: "I think that this is a good lesson." (0' 31")
See also:

28 Jan 98 | Asia-Pacific
Thai University bans miniskirts
25 Mar 98 | Despatches
Thais clamp down on Burmese refugees
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