Crackdown on Phuket hookahs
Phuket: Phuket Vice-Governor, Chamroen Tipayapongtada yesterday (June 7) pledged to tightly control the use of hookahs in shops in Phuket.
Friday 8 June 2012, 05:12PM
The pledge comes after complaints from parents that their children were being tempted into joining groups that would smoke hookahs, and that they were concerned that by joining these groups their children might get into social problems.
V/Gov Chamroen said, “After we received the complaints, we made discreet checks and discovered there are 12 shops with hookahs in Meuang District, 12 in Kathu District and two in Thalang.
“Most of the hookahs were imported from the Middle East. The teenagers smoking them were between 14 and 18 years old.”
The raids that followed resulted in the arrests of 10 young offenders and the owners of 11 shops.
The youngsters were charged with underage smoking of tobacco, while the shops were charged with a variety of offences including supplying tobacco to underage youngsters, irregular tobacco duty stamps, attempting to hide incriminating evidence (warm hookahs) from the police, and smuggling tobacco.
The raids also netted six illegal aliens – who were handed over to Immigration – and two drug users – who both agreed to go into rehabilitation.
The Provincial Office announced a concentrated drive to persuade shops in Phuket not to offer hookahs at all for customers to smoke, whatever their ages.