Police to curb Pattaya Beach drinking after student gun fight

PHOTO: Police crack down on drinking on the beach after shots fired amongst students. (via Pattaya News)

After a group of rival students fired guns on the beach in front of the Pattaya Police Station, police vowed to crack down on illicit activities including drinking. Police are stepping up their nightly patrols, searching for illegal drugs, alcohol, weapons and firearms.

The shooting incident happened on September 28. A group of about 20 teenagers – some still wearing school uniforms – were approached by rivals at 1am on Pattaya Beach. They fired guns into the air to scare the students loitering on the beach near Soi 9. Severely frightened tourists in the area raced to the police station for help.

A 16 year old student was questioned when police arrived to break it up. He said he went to a local Bang Lamug school. He explained that the students who fired the guns into the air had previous beef with the students on the beach.

Police also interviewed tourist witnesses of the altercation who said they saw three to four suspects on motorbikes. They raced away after the shooting, and police later recovered two bullet shells that they believe may have been blanks. Officers are still examining CCTV footage and searching for the shooters.

In response, the Pattaya police started night patrols and were out yesterday after midnight searching for contraband. Police have traditionally been lax about enforcing Thailand’s alcohol laws that forbid drinking on the beach. What the outbreak of violent incidents like gunfire a few nights ago, police intend to begin tightening up and stopping illegal public drinking.

Police believe occurrences such as this, and another recent incident where some noise pollution prompted a man to stab another with a knife, might be initiated or exacerbated by alcohol consumption. After the gunfire amongst students, police say they will particularly focus on underage drinking. The beach is a popular locale for drinking because students are not usually confronted by parents or authority figures there.

In their patrol though, police confronted tourists as well as Thai nationals who were drinking on the beach. They informed and reminded people that the Alcohol Control Act forbids drinking or selling booze on the beach. It is also illegal to be publicly drunk on the beach.

Police also took the time to remind beachgoers that, although it was decriminalised in June, smoking cannabis in public is still technically illegal and can be prosecuted as a public nuisance.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News 1 & 2

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Neill Fronde

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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