Connect with us

Crime

Anti-alcohol law has “bounty hunters” snitching for reward money

Published

 on 

PHOTOS: Police raid a bar in Surat Thani on April 6, 2020 - Khaosod English

Educating people, or advertising, online about alcoholic beverages is a crime in Thailand – a lesson learned the hard way by the administrator of a Facebook page detailing thee differences in the many types of craft beers when he was fined 50,000 baht for “advertising” alcohol on social media.

Police told him they received a “tip-off from someone”. Artid, the admin of “Daeg Beer Hai Plea Kaem,” says he was never paid for the beer reviews he wrote, but officials insisted on sending him to court for breaking a notorious law that criminalises any gesture that “advertises” alcohol or “induces” others to drink, including photos of alcohol on social media.

He is one of the many bloggers and Facebook users caught in a recent trend of snitches reporting online photos of alcohol to authorities in exchange for reward money of 7,500 baht.

“This law is incentivising people to snitch and turn others in. If I spent all my days screenshotting and snitching, I’d be rich too. My friend was also fined because 1 of their Facebook friends snitched to the Ministry. We can’t even trust people in our friends lists.”

The law banning public display of booze has been in effect since 2008, but alcohol aficionados say it’s being used without restraint during the coronavirus pandemic to extort fines from regular citizens who discuss alcohol on social media while bars and pubs remain closed.

Under the wording of Article 32 of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act, any action “deemed by officials as inducing others to drink is punishable by a fine of 50,000 baht”. Fines go up to 500,000 baht if the offender is a manufacturer. Online advertising of alcoholic products or even displays of a glass filled with alcohol are also banned under the same law.

Those who report such “offences” to authorities receive a cut of 7,500 baht, and that’s where the bounty hunting begins, according to a lecturer on food and beverage regulations who teaches food science at Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi.

“Only 40% goes into state coffers. The rest is reward money.”

“Witch hunting is definitely happening. The officials will not reveal who reported on them,” he continued. “If you hate someone, you can just call the police on them and they will never know who told on them.”

The lecturer, who also runs a Facebook page about alcohol laws, says a Facebook user recently posted a photo of beer that they like in a private setting. 1 of their 1,500 Facebook friends later reported the user for the photos, and collected the 7,500 baht bounty.

It seems to be an increasingly common experience. A Facebook page called We Can Choose posted on Sunday a photo of their 50,000 baht fine receipt, which said the page was guilty of posting images of alcohol.

Officials said the law prevents stealth advertisement targetting social media users, especially young people, but critics say the latest crackdown on booze photos will only hurt alcohol traders forced to sell online in the time of Covid-19 lockdown that’s shut down pubs and bars indefinitely. The government said on Wednesday that nightlife establishments will not be included in the “Phase 4” of business reopening.

Although the fines can be contested in court, very few people take the risk because of the time and cost involved in legal proceedings.

The lecturer said he will file a petition to the Ombudsman’s Office and the Council of State to see if the alcohol law is unconstitutional.

“This law is implemented by people with no knowledge about craft beer, and lots of prejudices. They think it’s just an evil thing that must be erased. My page is never even about asking people to drink. It’s a serious, even academic, page analyzing craft beers.”

SOURCE: Khaosod English

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime3 hours ago

Author Salman Rushdie stabbed at New York lecture

Transport8 hours ago

Daily trains begin between Malaysian border and Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Virologist predicts most of Thailand will have had Covid by 2023

Sponsored2 days ago

BKFC THAILAND 3: Moment of truth set for September 3

Transport9 hours ago

Bangkok gets 20 new electric buses next week

Crime10 hours ago

Armed robber escapes with gold worth 800,000 baht in Thailand

This is Thailand11 hours ago

Similarity of Mothers Around the World | Thai Mother’s Day 2022

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime12 hours ago

Foreigner faces prison for Parrotfishing in Thailand

Bangkok13 hours ago

Woman escapes death after car hit by fallen debris in Bangkok

Crime14 hours ago

Thai paramilitary ranger kills two, injures one after row in bar

Indonesia14 hours ago

Unexplained plane mysteriously sitting in a field in Bali

Cannabis15 hours ago

Thailand getting high on cannabis boost to tourist economy

Politics16 hours ago

Anupong says he will leave government with PM Prayut & Prawit

Tourism16 hours ago

Thailand’s economy grows but it still misses China’s cash

Thailand17 hours ago

Bars and clubs in Thailand proposed to open until 4.00 am | GMT

Bangkok17 hours ago

Three bars shut down in Bangkok lacking licenses, Covid safety

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending