Five senior police officials from the Lumpini Police Station were ordered repositioned by the Royal Thai Police on Sunday, October 17th, after allegedly neglecting the illegal sales of alcoholic beverages at a restaurant in downtown Bangkok that was raided on Sunday.
This follows near-daily raids across the country, especially in Bangkok and Pattaya, targeting venues selling alcohol illegally, which remains against Covid-19 rules set by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA. Bars and entertainment venues have been shuttered countrywide nationwide legally since April of this year and restaurants are banned from selling alcohol, with the exception of Phuket, Samui, and Khao Lak which have been given “tourism” exemptions for only restaurants.
The rules have been enormously unpopular and have led to more business owners breaking the rules in recent weeks and law enforcement “looking the other way” leading to the decision made to move senior police in Bangkok. Business owners have claimed they have been closed for seven months with little to no financial aid or support for their forced closures. The CCSA, meanwhile, continues to stand by their statements that bars and nightlife are “super spreaders” of Covid-19, although have stated they plan to “consider” opening these venues by December 1st, without promising. Royal Thai Police, meanwhile, state they are “only doing their jobs to enforce the law, and it is not their job to decide what the law is” in response to criticism of the regular raids and arrests, including of customers and tourists.
The removal of the five senior police was proposed by Police Major General Sophon Sarapat, Commander of Division 5 of Metropolitan police, shortly after 116 Thai and foreign alleged partygoers were arrested at the XOXO restaurant in the Sukhumvit area by the Division. An investigation committee was established to investigate the case as well as all senior police in Lumpini Police Station in regards to whether they had been neglecting their duty.
Five officials were therefore repositioned to Division 5 of the Metropolitan Police for investigation purposes until further notice. The officials were Superintendent Chakkrit Chosoongnoen; Crime Control Deputy Superintendent Chayachai Nathanakan; Investigative Deputy Superintendent Prachya Boonyuen; Police Protector Ekkarat Malawanno; and Investigative Inspector Sittisak Sudhom.
Meanwhile, Police Lieutenant General Samran Nuanma, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, revealed that the arrests of establishment operators and customers who were caught illegally drinking and gathering are serious and will continue to be actively conducted by Bangkok police.
“Although restaurants are now allowed to be reopened, selling and drinking alcohol is still absolutely illegal under the implementation of the Emergency Decree in most of the country. Bars, clubs, and nightlife are closed, and opening them is against the law. Police will continue their investigations and watch over suspicious establishments closely. Violators in all cases must be prosecuted under the law without exception, this includes customers and foreigners as we have been very clear about the rules. Claiming one does not know the rules is not an excuse.” he concluded.
Photo Courtesy: Thairath
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