Temple booze ban campaign launched

PHUKET CITY: Temple fair enthusiasts take note: it is now not only immoral to drink on temple grounds – it is also illegal.

This is the message of a new “Temples are not Bars; Salas are not Gambling Dens” campaign launched by Phuket Governor Preecha Ruangjanon on February 26.

The campaign was launched as part of a merit-making ceremony at Manik Temple in tambon Srisoonthorn, Thalang. It aims to raise public awareness that drinking or gambling on temple grounds is now against the law.

Unbeknownst to many, the new Alcohol Control Act 2008 came into force on February 14 this year. The Act bans the consumption of alcohol at temples and other places used to hold religious rites, as well as hospitals, government offices, schools, and petrol stations.

Those who enjoy a drunken water fight at Songkran (Thai New Year) will also be in for a shock this year: the Act also bans alcohol sales during a number of Thai festivals – Songkran included.

The new provincial campaign has a budget of 54,000 baht, most of which will be spent on signs informing people that drinking and gambling will no longer be tolerated in places of worship.

The signs will be displayed at all 37 temples in Phuket.

Large billboards will be erected at Saphan Hin, the Tesco-Lotus intersection and Patong.

Kriangsak Jinaphong, chief of the Phuket Provincial Buddhism Office, said, “We now have the Alcohol Control Act 2008. This is because alcohol causes health and family problems, accidents and crime, and damages the economy and the image of the country.”

Most people are still unaware the new law has come into force, and some are still drinking or buying and selling alcohol on temple grounds, especially at ordainment celebrations and funerals, he said.

Measures 27 and 31 of the new Act forbid this behavior and violators will be punished – with fines and imprisonment, he added.

— Manager Online

Phuket News

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