One Facebook user warned people about posting online about alcohol drinks after he was fined B50,000 in May for posting a photo.
He wrote he was informed of the charge in writing – a letter had been sent to his address linked to his ID with details on when and where he was to give statements to officials.
On that date, he acknowledged the charge and was asked to pay a fine on the spot, with B50,000 the minimum. He was told he could refuse to pay and the case would be taken to court. But from what he knew, nobody took that road.
Thailand has one of the strictest laws on alcohol advertisements. With the proliferation of social media, everyone is at risk even though if they do not intend to sell or distribute alcohol.
Some types of content that could cost B50,000 to B500,000 in fines under Section 32 of the 2008 Alcoholic Beverage Control Act are: posting a drink with the brand visible; encouraging people to drink; and posting a beer glass with a brand on it; among many others.
The Facebook user pointed out all of these depend on the discretion of officials.
Last week, a group of restaurateurs, drinks retailers and craft beer fans submitted a letter to seek help from Move Forward MPs who are on the public health House panel. They claimed some 400 restaurateurs were summonsed because they informed people on social media they had reopened after the COVID-19 lockdown and listed their menus.
One of them claimed he was called because he described a beverage as “well-known”.
“Officials say the word is an exaggeration and the law gives them too much leeway in exercising their discretion. This, as well as a large fine, prevents small operators competing with large ones,” said Supapong Pruenglampu, their representative.