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Police raid Patong bars in Chalerm’s crackdown



Police raid Patong bars in Chalerm’s crackdown | Thaiger

PATONG: Last night’s police crackdown on Soi Bangla entertainment venues trading past 2 am was in response to an order by new Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobumrung, Kathu Police chief Col Grissak Songmoonnak has confirmed.

Col Grissak, Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, told the Gazette today that he ordered the crackdown after Interior Minister Pol Capt Chalerm told police nationwide to get tough on nightclub operators as part of his new anti-drug campaign – or face the consequences.

Capt Chalerm’s order was also a topic at the monthly meeting of provincial government office heads chaired by Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit at Phuket Provincial Hall this morning.

The meeting was held in a new building, recently completed after two years of construction, that will be used for all future provincial government meetings.

At the meeting, Gov Niran explained that he had just returned from Bangkok, where he was told about the new anti-drug policies laid down by Interior Minister Chalerm.

Capt Chalerm threatened to punish police officers, district chiefs and other officials who failed to strictly enforce anti-drug measures at entertainment venues, Gov Niran said.

The strict enforcement is to ensure that all entertainment venues in areas such as Patong operate as required under their licenses and deny entry to anyone under 18 years of age, he said.

Venues operating without a license will be closed immediately and any licensed venues found breaking anti-drugs laws and admitting minors also face permanent closure under the tough new Interior Ministry policy, Gov Niran said.

Pheeraboon Thongsiriset, Chief of the Governor’s Office Development Planning Division, reported a rise in the use of ya bah (methamphatamines), marijuana, inhalants and krathom (an indigenous Thai plant that acts as a mild stimulant) in Phuket.

About 80% of the narcotics used in Phuket are either smuggled into Thailand through Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat or brought to the island from Phang Nga by car or boat, he added.

There will be a heavy police presence on the island tomorrow. After greeting Thaksin Shinawatra at Suvarnabhumi International Airport tomorrow morning, national police commissioner Gen Seripisut Temiyavej will fly to Phuket to attend two ceremonies, both in Mai Khao.

About 2 pm, Gen Seripisut will attend the handover of the police checkpoint at Tah Chat Chai.

The old police checkpoint will cease to operate and from tomorrow motorists coming onto the island will be directed to the new checkpoint beside the Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organization building.

At 3:37 pm Gen Seripisut will preside over the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the new Police Region 8 headquarters, to replace the current headquarters in Surat Thani.


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