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2 am fun zones for adults?



BANGKOK (The Nation): Entertainment venues in designated areas across the country will be allowed to stay open an hour or two longer than those outside the zones if the Cabinet endorses a decision arrived at yesterday by a high-level government committee. Deputy Prime Minister Purachai Piumsombun’s committee in charge of combating vice at entertainment venues agreed yesterday to set different closing hours for night spots in different zones, according a source who attended the meeting. Some areas would be zoned for adult-oriented entertainment. Purachai’s panel decided that, in designated zones, entertainment places with hostesses should be allowed to stay open until 2am, while those outside would have to close by midnight. It was also agreed that massage parlours inside the zones should be allowed to operate from 4pm to midnight, opening two hours earlier than those outside the zones. In Bangkok, the zones would cover the Patpong area and New Phetchaburi and Ratchadaphisek roads. The panel believes that longer operating hours would encourage owners to shift their nightspots into the designated zones, said the source. Yesterday’s decision will be forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration on Tuesday (February 10). The new rules, if endorsed, would be included in an Interior Ministry regulation to be imposed under the Entertainment Venue Act, which came into effect early last month. The new law sets no specific hours for entertainment venues. Yesterday’s decision appeared to be a compromise between the Interior Ministry, which previously proposed a midnight closure, and entertainment-venue operators, who want their businesses to stay open after the current closing time of 2am. At a meeting early last month, the Cabinet resolved that the midnight-closure proposal submitted by Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Maleenont be referred to Purachai’s panel for review. Pracha cited the need to keep young people away from drugs and other vices as a reason for shutting bars at midnight. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at the time questioned the rationale of a blanket closing time. Purachai reportedly told those who attended yesterday’s meeting not to speak about the decision. Pracha was absent from the session. He is on a trip to Europe and sent one of his advisers, Surapol Kiatchaiyakorn, on his behalf.


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