November 11, 2009 – Thailand’s main airport is to relocate 12 giant “demon statues” to boost the morale of staff who thought the figures brought bad luck, local media and officials said Tuesday.
The statues at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport will move from the arrivals area to the check-in zone at a cost of around 1.7 million baht (51,000 dollars), said Airports of Thailand (AOT) president Serirat Prasutanond.
“AOT has decided to move the statues to the check-in concourse to give passengers and other people a chance to appreciate the statues’ beauty,” he said in a statement.
But according to the English-language Bangkok Post newspaper, airport director Niran Thiranartsin admitted the decision had partly resulted from complaints from airport staff.
“The shopkeepers are blaming the ‘demon statues’ for the problems they have faced at the airport, which was seized late last year by demonstrators and supporters of the People’s Alliance of Democracy” (PAD), the paper said.
“The guardian spirit statues will be shifted from the inner zone of the passenger terminal to the check-in area to ‘improve morale’ of people working at the airport,” the report added.
The anti-government PAD seized two of the Thai capital’s airports in a crippling eight-day blockade late in 2008, which badly dented the kingdom’s tourist-friendly image.
Serirat presided over a religious ceremony at the airport Monday ahead of the relocation of the figures, which are modelled on 12 statues at Bangkok’s Grand Palace. He said the move should be finished within 90 days.