Some splash-happy tourists, and probably a few locals, in Phuket obviously didn’t get all the “dry Songkran” memos. Reports of foreign tourists splashing water in and around some of Thailand’s tourist hotspots these past two days has drawn the ire of Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.
In the case of Phuket, and specifically Bangla Road, the local walking street, the PM called on the governor of Phuket to make sure tourists there are familiar with the rules — i.e. a nationwide ban on water splashing this year.
On Wednesday, provincial authorities directed local Covid command units in three districts to enforce the nation’s water splashing ban, according to Phuket deputy governor Anupab Yodrabam, who expressed confidence that what happened at the beach in Bangla Road won’t happened again.
On Tuesday night (Songkran Eve), both foreign and Thai tourists were spotted tossing water on each other at Patong Beach on Bangla Road. There are hundreds of YouTube and social media posts of the water fights and general Songkran ‘revelry’. Also plenty showing the situation in Chaweng, Koh Samui and KhaoSan Road in Bangkok.
Last night, local police set up checkpoints on Patong’s Bangla Road to enforce the splashing ban, making sure that no water fights broke out on the popular nightlife walking street. The move follows reports that “vigorous water play” was held there on late Tuesday night, continuing into the early hours of Wednesday morning, The Phuket News reported.
According to spokesperson Thanakorn, the PM has “expressed concern” and instructed the governor to personally visit places with a high risk of unregulated water splashing — i.e. tourist areas — to inform foreign tourists about the ban, in order to avoid the government’s worst wet nightmare.
After the incident, local authorities deployed fast-acting response teams to inform foreign revellers in Kathu district of the water splashing ban (Bangla Road is in the Kathu District of Phuket province).
Anyone who breaks the current public health safety rules under the anti-Covid emergency decree could be fined a maximum of 40,000 baht, face up to 2 years in jail — or both. That’s according to Pol Maj Gen Yingyot, who warned that those who dared to splash water in unregulated conditions would face swift retribution. He noted that lawbreakers could also face an additional fine of up to 20,000 baht, as stipulated by the Communicable Disease Control Act.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Phuket News
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