Thai Authorities Arrest 89 Foreigners & 20 Thais For Flouting Covid Rules On Koh Phangan Island

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Thai Police and the Immigration Department have arrested a large group of tourists and locals on Koh Phangan Island this week after they were found flouting the strict rules to curb Covid-19 by partying late into the night.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Enabled by local bar owners who shouldn’t be opening their establishment serving alcohol as per the emergency degree in place the group of 109 individuals as well as the owner and organizer of the party were arrested.

Thailand is currently seeing a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus and while the outbreak appears to be largely contained there are emergency decrees in place within each province that were signed by the respective governor.

The Bangkok Post reported the raid on the bar took place at 9:30pm with a combined force of immigration and tourist police.

More than 100 people partying in contravention of Covid-19 retrictions were arrested when police and local officials raided a nightspot on Koh Phangan on Tuesday night

A team of immigration and tourist police and local officials converged on the Three Sixty Bar in Koh Phangnan district around 9.30pm.

They found Thais and foreigners crowded inside the premises, where music was playing and food and alcoholic drinks being served.

A total of 109 party-goers were detained – 89 foreigners (38 men and 51 women) and 20 Thais (7 men and 13 women).

Apparently all the foreigners were hauled to the immigration department for processing. Judging from the image above taken by Surat Thani immigration some were clearly lacking proper clothing.

…Also detained were Pongdaran Lim-ochakul, 40, who admitted being the owner, and Somsakul Kiartnarong, 47, who admitted being the organiser of the party, police said.

The customers were charged with violating the emergency degree to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Mr Pongdaran and Mr Somsakul were charged with colluding in operating an entertainment venue without permission. All were taken to Koh Phangan station for legal action.

Pol Col Suraruek Phankosol, chief of Surat Thani immigration, said police had been alerted to tickets being sold online to a party at the Three Sixty Bar in breach of the law.

Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto said on Wednesday he had been briefed on the raid.

He had ordered strict action be taken against the offenders, to send the message that breaches of restrictions to contain the spread of the disease would not be tolerated.

It should be interesting for the immigration department and the police to check the visa these foreigners currently utilize while staying in Thailand and breaching the emergency decree.

The government has just announced yet another 60 day extension option of the previous visa amnesty for those tourists staying in Thailand since March of 2020. Yes, despite multiple calls to return to their country of citizenship there are still thousands of people in Thailand on a tourist visa or entry stamp they received in March of last year. If any of these were arrested in this raid it’s probably a safe bet they will (and should be) fined and/or deported at this point.

Edit: My friend who works at a foreign embassy in Bangkok and dealt with these cases during the last week just informed me the guests were fined 4000 Baht each and released. Some had invalid visas.

It seems respect for local laws is really a problem with foreigners in Thailand. Anyone remembers The Traveling Butts ?

Yep, those “butts” got jailed and later deported from the country as well.

As far as the Thai citizens including the organizers of this event are concerned I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes either. While often times you can wash these things away with a bribe to the local officers in this case the governor and other high ranking officials don’t seem to risk it anymore and throw the book at those caught violating the decrees.

In another high profile super spreading even this month involving a party with celebrities and a famous DJ authorities event went after those wealthy people who usually get away with all sort of crimes as many had refused to provide a timeline of who they were in contact with recently (most likely due to some extramarital relations etc).

You can feel that those in power are getting fed up with people breaking even the most relaxed rules compared to other countries that are in much worse shape.

Conclusion

A rather large group of foreign (party) animals and locals has been arrested by Thai Immigration and tourist police on the island of Kho Phangan after violating the emergency decree there.

I’m surprised how many foreigners are still in Thailand and don’t seem to give a damn about the laws and regulations that are currently in place. Especially given the fact that life in Thailand remains largely normal with plenty of entertainment options. Yes nightclubs are closed and the serving of alcohol is also prohibited in many provinces.

They could have simply flown to Phuket earlier this month (before domestic travel restrictions between certain provinces were put into place) where clubs are open and alcohol is being served but no, they chose to hang out on Kho Phangan where the provincial regulations outlawed parties and alcohol. Hopefully authorities are extremely strict in this case.

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