Phuket Police lay down the law for Songkran

PHUKET: No sexy outfits, sexy dancing, alcohol in water-play zones and no rolling water-fight trucks are allowed in Phuket during the Thai New Year Songkran festival on April 13-14, the island’s top cop has announced.

Also banned is the mixing of powder, ice or foam with water used to ‘bless’ fellow Songkran celebrants, said Phuket City Police Superintendent Col Kraithong Chanthongbai.

“High-pressure water guns and other dangerous devices are also banned,” he said. “If possible, use only a traditional water bowl for offering water blessings.”

The crackdown on ‘inappropriate’ celebrations follows a national order to support and promote a more traditional Songkran festival this year, Col Kraithong explained.

“People should dress appropriately, ideally in traditional Thai costumes, and avoid any impolite or unsuitable dancing or performances,” he said.

The crackdown will be especially enforced at the alcohol-free “Songkran No Al” party to be held at Limelight Avenue, opposite Queen Sirikit Park on Dibuk Road in Phuket Town, from 5-9pm on April 13.

“We will carefully check for the alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and weapons, and officers will patrol all areas around the event,” Col Kraithong said.

The aim of the ‘no alcohol’ party is to help reduce the number of deaths in road accidents during the holidays, Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong explained at a press conference on Monday.

“According to statistics, alcohol causes 39.1 per cent of road accidents,” Governor Nisit said.

“The number is even higher for people who ride motorbikes. So urging youths to not drink and drive can help reduce the number of road accidents during the holidays.”

Governor Nisit pointed out that about 300 people died on Thailand’s roads during the Songkran Seven Days of Danger road-safety campaign over the past five years.

“That’s about 42 lives per day, and about 80 per cent of those deaths were motorbike riders,” he said. “Drunk driving, speeding and driving without a helmet were all main factors in the accidents in which people died.”

To attract youngsters to attend the ‘Songkran No Al’ party, organizers have arranged a free concert by Thai pop-rock band Paradox, courtesy of Advice Holdings Group (AVH) company.

“The main purpose of this event to provide a place for teenagers to safely enjoy Songkran in traditional style in an alcohol-free zone,” explained Panee Koaysomboon, owner of Limelight Avenue,

Chutima Sanitprem, deputy chief administrative officer of Phuket City Municipality, praised the company’s efforts.

“We are very glad that a private company is supporting government policy,” she said. “Phuket Municipality will do our best to take care of security and general administration of the event. We will also help to promote the event to the public.”

Uthit Limsakul, deputy director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office, also voiced his support.

“The TAT fully supports this event,” he said. “We have funded to have a Buddha image installed so people can perform traditional water blessing ceremonies, and we will set up a photo booth where youths can take photos.

“This event can promote the Songkran festival and Thai culture to tourists, without alcohol.”

— Woranut Pechdee

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