Patong businesses fight 2am crackdown
PHUKET: Representatives of entertainment venues in Patong have launched a protest in the hope the Government will relax its 2am closing hour – something business owners say will put them out of business.
Tuesday 31 January 2012, 03:21PM
On Saturday (January 28) at the police box near Soi Bangla, more than 100 people, including hotel owners plus tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, met with Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit to voice their concerns.
They gave him a letter, signed by more than 500 people, to pass on to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, asking for the hours to be relaxed.
On January 7, Kathu police ordered an abrupt 2am closing time on entertainment venues around the island, irritating bar owners in the popular Patong area who began to lose business.
Police said the crackdown was ordered by the Ministry of Interior, after the General Manager of Sri Panwa resort, Vorasit “Plawan” Issara was attacked in the early hours of January 5.
Led by the President of the Patong Entertainment Association Weerawit Kuressombut, Patong business owners said the area should be allowed special zoning because its nightlife attracted tourists to the island.
“We won’t survive with a 2am crackdown,” said Mr Weerawit. “Closing hours of Patong entertainment venues should be flexible.”
Mr Weerawit said Patong’s nightlife is one of the main things tourists want to experience while on the island, and tourists didn’t usually head out to venues until after 11pm.
When Mr Prompong was given the letter, he assured local business owners he would pass the letter to Ms Yingluck, and would raise the issue with the government to try and find a solution.
However, he pointed out restricted closing hours were part of Thai law, which must be enforced across the country.
“No-one should be exempt from the law,” said Mr Prompong. “However, a closing hours extension might be allowed if Patong area is considered a special economic zone.”