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Thailand will go back to the drawing board with its unilateral ban on sales of alcohol near schools, while leaving it on the books as vaguely written for selective enforcement based on the “judgment” of law enforcement officers.
Two weeks after the military government issued two confusing orders – one banning sales within 300 meters of some schools and universities and a second prohibiting all sales “in the vicinity” of all school property, a deputy prime minister said a committee will spend six months deliberating what “vicinity” means.
“There is still a point that we have to define, which is the word ‘vicinity,” Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yuthavong said today. “What does that mean? The committee is collecting opinions from relevant agencies to reach a clear understanding … It will take about six months.”
The former of the two orders, which had yet to go into effect since being signed on 20 July, will be indefinitely suspended. The latter, issued by fiat by the junta to immediate effect on 23 July, will remain the law of the land while its implementation is studied.
“In the meantime, security officers will have to exercise their judgement, based on appropriateness of the situation,” Saman Footrakul, director of the Alcohol Beverage Office, told reporters today.
Agencies involved in working out the details include the Royal Thai Police, Ministry of Public Health, Excise Department, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Interior Affairs, Saman said.
Thanakorn Kuptajit, president of Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said the decision to leave enforcement up to the judgment of law enforcement officers was troubling.