The move flies in the face of the tacit permission granted by the Patong Police and Patong Municipality, with bars along Bangla Rd open and selling alcohol.
It also comes more than a week after Weerawit Kreuasombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA), publicly admitted that some bars were breaking the provincial order ‒ but with tacit permission from the Patong Police and Patong Municipality.
According to a report released by Phuket Provincial Police this afternoon (Sept 22), all police stations in the area have now been ordered to “strictly inspect, control and supervise various places in accordance with the measures ordered by Phuket Province [the provincial government] according to Phuket Provincial Order No. 5409/2564, regarding the measures to close the place or prohibit activities that are at risk of spreading the disease [COVID-10] in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act 2015, Sections 34(6), 51”.
As such, officers from the Patong Police, under orders by Patong Police Chief Col Sujin Nilabordi, raided the Sweetie Bar on Bangla Rd at 10:10pm on Monday night (Sept 20), said the report.
Also according to the report, officers “had learned from the news that [the bar] was secretly selling alcoholic beverages to tourists”. Apparently Patong Police officers had no idea this was happening on Bangla Rd until a news report was published.
Therefore, Col Sujin ordered Patong Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Panu Siripokhapat to lead five other officers to raid the bar, said the report.
The bar was found to be selling alcohol to patrons, and the operator is now to be charged for breach "distributing liquor or alcoholic beverages in violation of the Phuket Provincial Order 5409/2564 regarding the measures to close the venue or prohibiting activities that are dangerous", said the report.
Of note, according to the report, no other venues were inspected on Monday night.
Last night, however, Col Sujin “learned from the news” that another bar, the Twenty One bar on Nanai Rd, was secretly “selling alcohol to “tourists”, the report continued.
This time Lt Col Detnarong Buakaew, also a Deputy Chief at Patong Police Station, along with four other police officials inspected the bar at 9:45pm.
Officers found the venue to be in breach of the provincial order and the operator was also charged with illegally selling alcohol.
Apparently Col Sujin last night also “learned from the news” that Harry’s Restaurant had been illegally selling alcoholic beverages to tourists, the report noted.
Lt Col Detnarong and his four accompanying officers inspected the venue and found it in breach of the provincial order.
As with Sweetie Bar and Tweny One bar, the operator was also charged with illegally selling alcohol.
According to the report, Pol Maj Gen Saksira Phuak-am, a Deputy Commander of the Region 8 Police, and currently acting as Commander of Phuket Provincial Police, has instructed police in all areas in Phuket to increase “rigorous inspections of establishments to strictly prevent violations of communicable disease prevention measures and ask for cooperation from the people”.
The Provincial Police asked people to report “any wrongdoing: by calling the police national hotline 191.
Of note, the report made no mention of the bars breaking any laws by being open. The charges were only for selling alcohol.
All bars and other entertainment venues have been ordered to remain closed by a nationwide ban ordered from Bangkok.
In Phuket, all bars and other entertainment venues were ordered to close in April and have not been allowed to reopen since.