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The Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) has warned that stricter enforcement of the provisions regulating the promotion of alcohol will hit the island next week, ahead of the New Year celebrations.
The crackdown will specifically target beer gardens, restaurants and other public venues, confirmed Dr Prapa Nakara, who as Director of the PPHO’s Non-communicable Diseases division directly heads the enforcement of alcohol-related regulations on the island.
“We will announce the provisions regarding the promotion of alcohol in a campaign from Dec 24-29,” Dr Prapa told The Phuket News today (Dec 20).
“Specifically, Phuket is a tourism area and we must remind venue operators [of the provisions] by official letter before the New Year celebrations,” she said.
“Last month we found some restaurants [whose operators] admitted to breaking the law and removed their advertising by our order,” Dr Prapa added, but declined to identify which restaurants were caught.
“It is necessary to let them [venue operators] know because this campaign is nationwide, affecting all restaurants and bars, with Bangkok leading to take action,” she said.
The “Bangkok action” refers to Alcohol Control Board Director Nipon Chinanonwait taking legal action against the organisers of popular open-air beer gardens at CentralWorld Plaza for violating Section 32 of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act B.E. 2551 (2008), which bans any attempts to “encourage” drinking.
Section 32 mandates that, “No person shall advertise or display, directly or indirectly, name or trademark of alcoholic beverage in a manner that showing properties thereof or inducing other person to drink.”
If found guilty, violators face up to one year in jail or a fine of up to B500,000 – or both.
Mr Nipon last week also threatened to crack down on similar events nationwide on the grounds that they entice the public to drink. (See story here.)
“Our campaign on alcohol-promotion laws includes the use of beer promotion pretties [attractive hostesses], the publishing of photos of alcohol-related promotion events or other illegal activities,” Dr Prapa said.
“Also, open-air beer gardens are against the law, and it is illegal to encourage people to drink alcohol by advertising in publications, on billboards or elsewhere that is not permitted,” she added.
“We will consider each instance case by case. If the organiser’s purpose is just to encourage drinking, they will be charged under Section 32 of the law,” Dr Prapa said.
“If anyone sees or suspects any advertising has broken the law, please let us know and send us photos so we can investigate.
“Please send these to the Phuket Provincial Heath Office by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 076-212297.”