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Safari Pub raided twice and closed

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Safari Pub raided twice and closed | Thaiger

PATONG: Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi has closed the Safari Pub in Patong for a month, sparking a row about interpretation of the 2 am closing law. The case involves prominent Patong businessman Chairat Sukbal and Surapong “Od Patong” Rittee, the newspaper and TV reporter gunned down by a lone hitman in Patong earlier this month. Police raided the Sirirat Rd premises, which include the pub and a restaurant at the rear, at 3 am on Monday – and again early today. They say that on both occasions they found people drinking and dancing, on the second occasion despite the fact that both businesses were ordered closed after the first raid. K. Chairat, who failed in a bid to be elected mayor of Patong in November, owns the Safari Pub and leases the no-name khao tom (rice porridge) restaurant at the rear to others. K. Surapong, shot twice through the head at close range in a mini-mart, was a partner in the no-name restaurant, which shares a common entrance with the pub. Pol Col Chalit Thintanee, Superintendent of Kathu District Police Station, led 20 officers on Monday’s raid after complaints from nearby residents. Col Chalit said they found a DJ playing music and about 800 Thais and foreigners drinking and dancing at the venue at 3 am. An ID inspection turned up three under-age customers. K. Chairat disputes this version of the story. He told the Gazette, “The pub, which belongs to me, is normally closed at 2 am every day, while the restaurant stays open until the early morning hours. “They are separate businesses, but the police assume that they are the same business. It is not fair.” While pubs, bars and nightclubs are obliged by law to close before 2 am, the restriction does not apply to restaurants. Restaurants, however, are barred from serving liquor after 2 am. Last night the Governor ordered the premises closed from February 26 to March 26 – and early today, police raided the premises again following complaints that the order had not been obeyed. Jareanpong Deeraksa, one of the partners and managers of the restaurant, was arrested at 5 am. He could face a year in jail or a fine of 20,000 baht, or both. K. Chairat said he feared the raids may have been based on jealousy because “I have a lot of customers coming to my pub and restaurant. However, I don’t want to talk about this matter at the moment – the more I say, the more I get hurt.” Police have yet to link K. Surapong’s execution-style slaying on February 11 to the wave of killings now taking place because of the government’s crackdown on drugs. But they do say he had “wide business interests” and “an extensive knowledge” of the Patong underworld. As for Safari and the no-name restaurant, further action is pending and the case is likely to be decided in the courts.


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