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Nightlife operators slam corrupt Phuket officials

PHUKET: Nightlife business operators in Patong are fed up government officials demanding more and bigger bribes from them, the town’s Deputy Mayor, Chairat Sukbal, told Governor Maitri Intusut yesterday morning (November 14) in a closed meeting.

Thursday 15 November 2012, 06:32PM


Bright lights: but corrupt officials in Patong are getting just too greedy, say local business people.
Bright lights: but corrupt officials in Patong are getting just too greedy, say local business people.

His complaint was backed by Patong Beach Entertainment Place Association chairman Wirawit Kreuasombat and others.

“The purpose of this meeting,” Mr Chairat said after the meeting, “was to acquaint the governor with problems arising from certain government units demanding protection money from entertainment places in Patong.”

He added that the demands “are continually on the increase”.

“We would like the governor to undertake urgent investigations into those units, giving justice to operators of entertainment places.”

He and the nightlife operators also made a plea for nightlife opening hours to be relaxed to “accord with the behaviour of foreign tourists”.

Mr Wirawit said that his group wanted the governor to extend the opening hours – currently 2 am at the latest.

“The activities of most tourists travelling here to use our services occur during the late hours of the night,” he explained.

“When our businesses close at the official time, tourists spend their money instead in 24-hour convenience stores, then sit by the beach to consume their purchases.

“That has an adverse impact on cleanliness in the beach area, and also on tourist safety.”

Gov Maitri’s responses to the group’s proposals were not reported.

Nightlife operators’ dissatisfaction with enforcement of official closing time is a long-standing issue (and a fruitful source of income for corrupt government officials).

The topic has provoked numerous demonstrations during the years since Thaksin Shinawatra – who stated bluntly his desire for a reduction in the number of nightlife venues – first became prime minister in 2001.

Successive Interior Ministers reduced and clamped down on official opening hours and ordered – and in same cases, themselves led – raids on bars and other night venues.

The policies of the current Pheu Thai government, led by Mr Thanksin’s sister Yingluck, continue to be aimed at discouraging vice in its various forms, notably lewd shows, drinking alcohol and abuse of drugs. – Source: Manager Online

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