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Police raid tea shop, hookahs seized

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Police raid tea shop, hookahs seized | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: During a raid of the Khiew-Tong cafe on Thalang Rd yesterday evening, police found 16 minors smoking flavored tobacco through a hookah.

The 10 males and six females, all under 18, were arrested and later released to their parents. The shop owner, Phuket native Veerasak Abdulla, 49, was charged with aiding or abetting a minor to engage in wrongful behavior for commercial gain.

Police entered the downtown tea shop about 9:30 pm and found a full house of smokers. As hookahs are legal, police did not order the venue closed or arrest other patrons.

The police confiscated two water pipes and two packs of tobacco from the shop, which sells fruit-flavored molasses and tobacco packets for 100 baht each.

Lt Somsak Thongklieng of Phuket City Police Station told the Gazette, “We told the shop owner that if we find him serving minors again we will shut down the shop, so we will keep an eye on him.”

Smoking through hookahs has become increasingly popular in Phuket in recent years, due in large part to the increasing popularity of the island among tourists from the Middle East.

Early in his term, Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit expressed concern with the custom, saying he feared the water pipes could be also used with illegal drugs such as marijuana and hashish.

 

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