Another Thai minister rebukes foreign press

BANGKOK (AFP): Interior Minister Purachai Piemsombun has lashed out at the foreign media for its criticism of his “social evils” campaign which, he claims, is aimed at ridding Thailand of drugs and underage drinking. Purachai attacked a report in Time magazine that he thinks suggests that his crusade to shut down nightclubs, bars and karaoke joints by 2:00am is merely an attempt to boost the government’s popularity. “I don’t care what the foreign media says. The government knows what it is doing,” he said, according to reports yesterday. “These media don’t wish our country well.” The minister accused some media outlets of being “tools of big capitalists” who wanted to control the country. “Do you think foreign publications are free? They are under the control of their sponsors, who can order them to turn left or right,” he said. “We are a sovereign nation and don’t take orders from foreign countries.” The Time article backed the initiative to clean up Bangkok’s fleshpots, but said it smacked of tokenism and failed to address tough issues like “closed” brothels where young girls are held in conditions of virtual slavery. “Bangkok will resume its historic role as a sex tourist’s paradise as soon as the minister has garnered enough law-and-order headlines,” said the column on the magazine’s internet site. Purachai denies that his “new social order” campaign is a publicity stunt. He also dismisses warnings that his heavy-handed implementation of the campaign, including police raids on up-scale nightclubs and on-the-spot urine tests of tourists (to detect illegal drugs) would harm tourism.

Phuket News
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