Phuket officials arrest bar owner behind Rihanna fiasco

PHUKET: Local Phuket officials on Saturday night arrested the Patong bar owner who staged the lewd show at the epicenter of comments posted online by global celebrity Rihanna.

The international pop star stirred an online furore last month after she posted photos on Instagram of slow loris touts on Bangla, and posted a Twitter message about a “shocking” adult show she had witnessed (story here).

Rihanna’s comments and photos went viral, with many netizens holding local officials accountable for illegal antics continuing in Phuket’s premier tourist town.

“Warunyoo Jornmuang, owner of the Season bar on Soi Bangla, was arrested for operating an entertainment venue without a permit and for providing a lewd show. The case was handed over to the Patong Police for further action,” Kathu District Chief Veera Kerdsirimongkol told the Phuket Gazette.

Mr Warunyoo’s arrest came during an unannounced tour of the tourist walking street led by Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut.

“We wanted to make sure we would see things as they really are and what illegal activities were going on,” Governor Maitri said, explaining the lack of forewarning.

“I also had plainclothes police patrolling the area and assigned officers to maintain CCTV surveillance along the road to make sure that police can help tourists in their time of need,” he said.

In addition to Mr Veera, joining the governor for his Bangla walk were Phuket Provincial Commander Ong-art Phiwruangnon and Patong Superintendent Chiraphat Pochanaphan.

“We did not find any illegal animal touts on Soi Bangla,” Mr Veera noted.

During the inspection tour, the officials stopped to speak with tourists to let them know that their safety and well-being were a top priority.

“A lot of tourists asked to have their photo taken with the governor. It was good to see so many smiles from tourists,” Chief Veera said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

Phuket News

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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