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Thailand celebrity gets a month in jail for Covid-19 cluster birthday party at Bangkok hotel

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Thai PBS

A Thailand celebrity was sentenced to jail for charges relating to his birthday party last month that became a notorious Covid-19 cluster. The South Bangkok District Court sentenced Techin Ploypetch, known as DJ Matoom, to 2 months in jail with a fine of 20,000 baht for violating the Emergency Decree which banned social gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The DJ pled guilty and the court cut his sentence in half to a month in jail and a 10,000 baht fine. The court also suspended his sentence for a year.

DJ Matoom held his 31st birthday party at a rooftop bar at Bangkok’s Banyan Tree Hotel on January 8 where people were drinking alcohol and not abiding by disease control practices like wearing face masks and social distancing. During this time, bars in Bangkok were closed and restaurants were prohibited from serving alcohol in an effort to limit gatherings and prevent the spread of Covid-19. The celebrity tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after his party.

Doctors reviewed the DJ Matoom’s travel history and say they believe he caught the virus at a New Years party in Chiang Mai, another Covid-19 cluster. Doctors say they believe a man who attended both the News Years party in Chiang Mai and the celebrity’s party in Bangkok spread the virus at both events.

30 people who tested positive for Covid-19 attended the New Years party in Chiang Mai, and 9 of them also went to the celebrity’s birthday party. People who attended the birthday party will also face criminal charges, according to police.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS

 

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Grumpy John

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    Seems fair, 2 weeks in the slammer but the fine should have been half a million baht.

  2. Avatar

    Ben

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Suspended his sentence for a year? So he can wait a year before he goes to jail? What’s the point of that? Is this a deterrent to others who might do the same thing?

    • Avatar

      Pedro

      Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 8:25 pm

      Ben, I believe that a suspended sentence, even in Thailand, means that if he stays out of further trouble for a year, then he does not have to go to jail, and the jail time is waived. If he repeats the offence within the year then he does the original time plus extras for the new offence. Like it or not, the idea of a sentence should not be to deter others, but to educate the individual through a punitive sanction for their personal transgression so as not to do it again. It could be suggested that a show trial with punishments designed simply to deter others into submission is the stuff that Dictators rely on to keep the population in order, something that is alleged by some to have happened in the recent Lese Majeste trial where the lady was given over 40 years. Is that what you really want as Thai justice?

      • Avatar

        Shane

        Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 8:59 pm

        A suspended sentence is not a deferral of doing jail time. As Pedro states, it’s a deterrent not to re-offend for the period of suspension. The court could have suspended the sentence for a longer period as a further deterrent, if they had reason to.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 9:12 pm

        Correct, Pedro, suspended means exactly that.

        The point of a sentence, though. is three-fold: to deter others, to punish the offender, and to reform the offender.

        I doubt it achieved any of those.

      • Avatar

        Jeff

        Monday, February 22, 2021 at 11:27 am

        Oh puhlease. ALL sentences are meant to punish AND deter. If there were no consequences for crime, crime would be more rampant than it is now.

  3. Avatar

    Shane

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    That’s a VERY misleading headline. The sentence was suspended. Please rectify it or you’ll lose credibility.

  4. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    And what about the Banyan Tree Hotel? Zero penalty and free advertising? Did the people sneak in there to have a birthday party?

    • Avatar

      John

      Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 10:31 pm

      I was wondering exactly the same ….

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    WHAT DID HE DO WRONG?
    HAVE A PARTY IN A ROOTOP BAR.
    ANY CATCH COVID?
    The only reason he was arrested was because the police hoped for a bribe.
    Well they collected B10000. How much of it will go further that the police station?

    • Avatar

      Mister Stretch

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 7:22 am

      Actually, there were 9 cases related to the party, including the celebrity host.

      What did he do wrong? He broke the law.

  6. Avatar

    Baroness

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 4:19 am

    Can you imagine if it has been a foreign national instead of the DJ?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Imagine? You mean like the other cases that are widely reported involving “foreign nationals”?

  7. Avatar

    James Pate

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 4:51 am

    Assuming he didn’t do this before, I think the punishment is about right. Hopefully, he learned his lesson. 8 guests at a private party, not comparable to the Hippie Music Fest on the beach.

  8. Avatar

    Jeff

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 11:23 am

    A month in jail (suspended) for having a party but yet the Lumpini Boxing Stadium officials who ignored the events ban and whos actions we reportedly linked to COVID deaths, walk free. No one should be surprised that people are protesting the status quo.

  9. Avatar

    Samuel Yeo

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Suspended sentence will never work,as others will likely follow suit due to the leniency imposed.What happens for those infected,who may end up dead ?

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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