Laughing gas balloons burst bubble: Police bar raid in Chiang Mai

Photo courtesy of Panumet Tanraksa

In a late-night operation in the Mueang district of Chiang Mai, police and officials carried out a raid on beer bars located near a boxing stadium on Loi Kroh Road. The establishments were alleged to be selling balloons filled with laughing gas to patrons and tourists.

The raid, which involved about 100 police officers and consumer protection officials, resulted in the confiscation of numerous gas cylinders and gas-filled balloons from five beer bars situated in the city’s centre. During the operation, several foreign visitors were spotted at the venues.

The deputy investigative chief at the Mueang Chiang Mai Police Station, Sathitchai Nitayawan, stated that the police had yet to identify the type of gas found in the seized cylinders and balloons. The identification process would play a pivotal role in determining any potential charges to be made.

Before the raid, the police received complaints alleging that the bars were selling nitrous oxide, a gas typically used in whipped cream chargers and airbags, in the form of balloons to their customers. According to Sathitchai, the gas-filled balloons were said to be priced at 50 baht for a small balloon and 100 baht for a larger one, reported Bangkok Post.

Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office’s pharmacist, Manorom Sinthop-achakul, warned about the dangers of nitrous oxide. He explained that the gas, when inhaled, can cause intoxication and prolonged misuse could harm the respiratory system, liver, and kidney. Such abuse could potentially lead to fatal consequences, Manorom added.

A similar event was reported in Pattaya in December last year. A shop posing as a legal marijuana dispensary was busted for secretly peddling nitrous oxide balloons to unsuspecting tourists. Despite its allure, the sale of nitrous oxide violates Thai law, with offenders facing imprisonment and fines.

The incident underscores the dangers of the illegal laughing gas peddle in Pattaya.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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