Fourteen Brits were arrested after flouting Covid-19 rules with a lock-in at a Thai red light district bar.
The foreigners were caught drinking alcohol inside the building in Bangkok in the early hours of Saturday morning (June 26) at 2 am while it was supposed to be closed.
Police arrested 31 alleged violators – 14 Brits and 17 Thai women – who were having a drinking party inside the cramped bar on the city’s seedy Sukhumvit Road.
They were remanded in custody for questioning before appearing in court the next day. The South Bangkok District Court sentenced the customers to one month’s imprisonment which was cut to 15 days after all pleaded guilty to violating the Emergency Decree. The sentence was suspended for one year and each fined 5,000 baht (112 GBP).
The bar owner was charged with illegally opening the establishment during lockdown and selling alcoholic drinks during the liquor ban.
One of the customers, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The bars have been closed for the last few months but there are a few that still open on the quiet. What else are we supposed to do when we want to have a drink? I don’t want to sit in my room watching TV every night. Someone needs to help the economy. I’ll be more careful now because if we step out of line we’ll be doing bird in the Bangkok Hilton.’
Those arrested were also required to take a urine test to check for illegal drug intake but they were all found negative aside from having traces of alcohol. Police said that they would raid other bars serving booze.
Thailand has recorded 244,447 Covid-19 cases and 1,912 deaths as of June 27. Ministers hope a vaccine rollout that started this month will allow them to re-open the country to international tourists before the end of the year.
Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen.
Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.