Thailand’s Criminal Court has sentenced to jail terms more than 80 Thai and foreign customers who were found to have violated the Emergency Decree and the Immigration Act at TAJ CAFE in Bangkok from January 15th to the 16th.
The first group of 42 Thai nationals was charged for committing offenses under the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations, B.E. 2548, as they were not following regulations while dining at TAJ CAFE, located at Soi Sukhumvit 3, Wattana District in the capital.
According to the reports, all dining tables at the restaurant were set up with no social distancing space to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus as required in the Emergency Decree. Customers, both Thai and foreigners, were also seen crowded inside the area, smoking hookahs without wearing face masks or other health protection in accordance with the coronavirus prevention measures.
All 42 defendants were found guilty and initially sentenced to two-months imprisonment and a 10,000-baht fine. However, due to their confessions, the punishment was reduced to one-month imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 baht per person.
The second group of defendants was 40 foreigners from Nigeria, India, Somalia, and Myanmar, who were found violating the Emergency Decree as well as the Immigration Act.
All of them were individually sentenced to a prison sentence of between four months to one year and a fine from between 5,000 to 16,000 baht, depending on how many sections of certain acts they were found guilty of.
Thai Law Enforcement has warned both foreigners and Thai nationals that if they are caught breaking the law, even at a venue, they will be fully charged under the law and emergency decree. Before Covid-19 officials would primarily fine only the venue and let patrons go without fines unless drugs were involved which no longer seems to be the case.
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