Two booze ban days coming up in Thailand

In case drunkenness influences voters to tick the wrong box in Thailand‘s upcoming elections, alcohol sales will be banned nationwide for two Saturdays next month – early voting day and Election Day.

No alcohol may be sold from 6pm on May 6 until 6pm on May 7, as well as from 6pm on May 13 until 6pm on May 14. That’s two sober Saturday nights. Foreigners cannot vote in the election, but the alcohol ban applies to everyone living in the kingdom.

The sale or distribution of alcohol is banned everywhere: convenience stores, bars, and even parties and weddings. Anyone who violates the ban could land themselves a six-month jail sentence and/or a fine of up to 10,000 baht.

Not only alcohol, but Thailand’s election law also bans…

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  • Buying or selling votes
  • Preventing eligible voters from casting their ballots
  • Providing free transport for eligible voters to voting stations
  • Intentionally damaging a ballot paper
  • Taking a photo of a marked ballot paper
  • Taking a ballot paper out of a polling place
  • Releasing opinion survey results in the seven days up to the close of voting on Election Day.

Alcohol sales are also banned in Thailand on Buddhist holidays in Thailand, including Makha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day, Asahna Bucha, Wan Khao Phansan, and Awk Phansa. The exact dates vary every year according to the lunar calendar.

Thailand is home to many bizarre alcohol laws. In 1972, the military junta introduced a law that’s still in place to this day – vendors cannot sell alcoholic beverages between 2pm – 5pm according to the Alcoholic Beverage Act.

In Thailand, advertising the sale of alcohol is also against the law. Yesterday, a Thai man made headlines after Nonthaburi Provincial Court sentenced him to a suspended six month prison sentence and a 150,000 baht fine for posting a picture and a review of a craft beer online in 2020. The hops lover paid an additional 150,000 baht to be released on bail.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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