Officials led by Aroon Sing-in of the Phuket Provincial Office and Phuket City Police Deputy Superintendent Chao Phomna raided the Sabaijai Bar on Kanjana-Uthit Rd, located beside the fresh market behind Phuket Rajabhat University, at 10pm.
The raid, comprising more than 30 police and officials, including civil defense volunteers, was instigated after a tip-off that the venue was providing illegal tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia.
In turn, officers seized 40 shisha, known locally as baraku, from the bar and took into custody the bar manager, Tanongsak Janmanee, 32, from Nakorn Sri Thammaratm who was taken to Phuket City Police Station for questioning.
The 11 teenage girls caught smoking at the bar were also found to have no identification among any of them at the time of the raid. Officers took their statements, then chastised them for smoking and explained the dangers of the habit to them before releasing them.
Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha and the National Council for Peace and Order last year banned the import of the Middle-Eastern style hookah pipe, a device used to smoke baraku, a tobacco-type product.
The move, although criticised for its alleged lack of effectiveness, aimed to curb smoking or drug problems among teens. (See story here.)
The ban became effective on February 19, 2015, under the Consumer Protection Act, which stipulates that any persons found selling or providing baraku or liquid for smoking e-baraku, if found guilty, will face up to to five years in jail or a fine of up to B500,000, or both.