The crackdown was ordered by Royal Thai Police Deputy Commissioner Pol Gen Wutthi Phuawade after he blamed the bar trading past legal closing time, and called on local officers to be held responsible for any entertainment venues trading late throughout the country.
“Police in each jurisdiction will strictly inspect whether any entertainment establishment opens later than the legal closing time. They must strictly adhere to the closing time,” he said.
“If any jurisdiction allows any establishment to disobey the closing time, the officers in charge will be punished for negligence,” he warned.
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Col Teeraphol Thipjaroen confirmed to The Phuket News that the crackdown will be rolled out in Phuket, but will be done so in co-ordination with “provincial policy”.
“I will certainly do what the national police deputy has ordered, and enforce the closing times even within the entertainment zones,” he said.
“But we must work with the Phuket Provincial Office (Governor’s Office). In Phuket, it is necessary for our work to be integrated; we must to work in co-ordination with others, but it must not conflict with orders from my superior officers.”
Weerawit Kuresombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association, told The Phuket News today that he agreed with the Royal Thai Police efforts to improve tourists’ security.
However, he added, “I don’t think that will solve the rape problem completely. It’s not the entertainment industry’s fault that the crime happened.
“They can crackdown on entertainment businesses, and even those in the entertainment zones, but that would not prevent this kind of problem anyway.”
Under current law, most entertainment businesses are required to close at midnight, though others in entertainment zones, such as Bangla Road, are granted permission to stay open later, until 1am or 2am, depending on the business's entertainment license and where the business is located.
However, the Patong Entertainment Business Association in September petitioned the Ministry of Interior to extend the trading hours for businesses in the Patong entertainment zone to stay open until 4am. (See story here.)