After 13 years of marathon court battle through three courts, Karen residents of the lower Klitty village in Kanchanaburi have their real taste of victory when the Supreme Court finally handed down a verdict ordering Lead Concentrates (Thailand) company and its managing director to pay 20 million baht in compensation and medical fees for the future to eight victims of lead contamination.
Karen Studies and Development Centre director Surapong Kongjantuek who has been defending for the right to safe environment of the Karen villagers in lower Klitty village from lead contamination from the beginning told the media that the Supreme Court found the lead mining company and its top executive, Mr Kongsak Kleepbua, of deliberately discharging wastes from the mine into the Klitty creek which has been, for generations, the lifeline of the Karens.
He said that the court ordered the company and Mr Kongsak to pay compensation to the victims and to rehabilitate the creek. But since the company has gone bankrupt and Mr Kongsak was already dead, he added that the next step to be done is to secure the assets of the company for payments to the victims.
One of the victims, Mr Kamthorn Srisuwanmala, said he was very glad with the high court’s verdict and thanked the court for giving them justice. He noted that several of the victims had been living in suffering for the past several years with some of them having fallen dead.