PHUKET: The Phuket authorities are cracking down hard on the island’s teenagers in advance of Valentine’s Day, with 16 young people recently detained and tested for drug use.
The crackdown comes amid the traditional moral panic over the behavior of Thai youth that accompanies the romantic holiday in the country each year.
Of the 16 boys and girls who were arrested, six tested positive for ya bah (methamphetamine) use and will be sent to drug rehabilitation camp.
Kriangkrai Boonda, deputy director of the Education Ministry’s Semarak Center, said his center had worked with local leaders and a number of other youth- and health-related organizations to carry out a raid on a bar on Pattana Thongthin Road in Wichit at around 12:30am yesterday.
The raid was launched after local people complained that large numbers of teenagers were gathering at the bar every night.
Phuket’s Muang District Office has a policy to crack down on young people behaving badly around Valentine’s Day.
Mr Kriangkrai said authorities found 16 teenagers at the property, 12 boys and 4 girls. All were between 14 and 17 years old.
They were smoking shisha pipes and drinking alcohol.
In the shop the authorities discovered equipment for taking drugs, a sword, four knives and a knuckleduster.
The authorities arrested the group and took them to Muang District Office for questioning. They contacted the teenagers’ relatives and explained to them what their children had been doing.
They tested the teenagers for drugs use, with six of the group’s urine turning purple.
Those who tested positive will be sent to a drug rehabilitation camp.
Mr Kriangkrai asked for the parents of teenagers to cooperate in ensuring that their children behave properly and do not go out at night.
Any parent who suspects their child is using drugs can contact the district authorities to have the problem dealt with, he added.
Going out at night puts children at risk of arrest and involvement in crime, Mr Kriangkrai said.
Supachai Phochanukun, Phuket Muang District chief, said the owner of the shop was being investigated and could be charged with abetting children to commit crime.
— Warisa Temram
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