Junta chairman and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued the ban on Thursday (July 23) by invoking Section 44 of the interim charter, which grants him authority to unilaterally enact legally-binding orders.
The ban prohibits the sale of alcohol "in the vicinity of educational establishments" and student dormitories.
Thai officials have clarified that "vicinity" refers to a 300 metre radius around any educational establishments, an all-encompassing term that includes schools, vocational colleges, and universities. The maximum penalty for bar owners who violate the prohibition is the revocation of their liquor licence.
Acting under the new order, police officers raided two bars close to Rangsit University in Pathum Thani province shortly after midnight on Saturday (July 25) and shut both places down.
"Both bars are situated close to an educational establishment and student dormitories, which is considered an offense under the NCPO's order about selling alcohol near educational establishments," said Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri, deputy chief of the Thai police, using the formal name of the junta, the National Council for Peace and Order.
The two bars are called Bungalow and M.3/2.
Lt Gen Prawut told reporters that the bars have been shut down, and the owners have been stripped of their licences to sell alcohol.
The owners, Wasan Dokmaikrue and Kitthanet Amornlertthanon, are also facing additional criminal charges for admitting customers under the age of 20, operating without proper permits, and failing to adhere to the midnight closing time prescribed under existing laws.
The new booze ban was issued by Gen Prayuth as a part of the junta's effort to stamp out vice and impose public order at night time.
The booze ban is unlikely to be strictly enforced, as it would render bars and nightclubs in many popular nightlife districts illegal. For instance, Khaosan Road, a favorite party destination for foreign backpackers, is less than 300 metres from Satri Witthaya School, and the notorious red light district of Patpong is less than 300 metres away from Chulalongkorn University.
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