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Pattaya restaurant busted serving alcohol for the fourth time

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: 4th raid on a Pattaya restaurant still serving alcohol in defiance of Covid-19 rules. (via Pattaya News)
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Fourth time’s the charm? After 3 previous raids with apparently little effect, the Pattaya Police have once again raided a restaurant near Bali Hai for breaking Covid-19 restrictions, selling alcohol and shisha. The raid took place last night and police found about 100 people at the restaurant that were not wearing masks, socially distancing, or taking any Covid-19 safety precautions.

This time police named Sky Mountain restaurant as the venue that repeatedly ignores Covid-19 rules and restrictions and has been operating illegally. In this raid, police found about 100 customers, both Thai and foreign nationals, gathered to party, drinking despite the alcohol ban in Pattaya and most of the nation. Some customers were also caught smoking shisha, a common and popular activity at clubs all over the country despite it being illegal in Thailand.

This time, customers were not taken into custody or issued any punishment or fine, and police released all the patrons after the raid concluded. The caretaker of the restaurant, however, was transported to the Pattaya City Police Station and is being charged with opening an entertainment venue illegally, selling alcohol and shisha illegally, and violating the Chon Buri Disease Control Orders.

While it seems that the paltry fines and lack of punishment have allowed the restaurant to brazenly continue to operate while other law-abiding businesses remain closed and struggle to survive, police claim that prosecuting is coming. They say that legal paperwork has been filed against the restaurant as a result of the first 3 raids and that the case was working its way through the provincial and court authorities.

Police say that while the legal proceedings were still pending, the business continues to be able to operate as a restaurant in the meantime, though the lack of Covid-19 safety measures and the sale of alcohol and shisha are certainly illegal. Once the case is completed, the venue could face long-term closures as punishment for their continued lawbreaking.

Alcohol has been banned from being served at any establishment for many months now, and it was hoped the ban would be lifted in December, but today’s CCSA meeting announced that reopening of entertainment venues and nightlife will not be considered until January 15 at the earliest.

A few Blue Zone tourist areas like Phuket, Bangkok and Koh Samui have been allowed to serve alcohol at restaurants, and it wasn’t clear if there was any chance those zones would be allowed to open nightlife any sooner as Thailand attempts to woo international tourists, many of which are hesitant to come for an alcohol-free holiday.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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