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A massive swoop by more than 100 officials was conducted today descending on one of Bangkok’s most popular pubs early this morning.
The Ben Pub in the Ekachai Road area of Thonburi was busted for a whole range of offences while dozens of underage drinkers and drug takers were arrested. Drugs including ecstasy were found in the toilets and scattered on the floor reported Manager Online.
And it emerged that the club was allowed to operate after being raided before by soldiers last year. The justice ministry are investigating after orders for action came from the prime minister.
Venues operating illegally can expect to be closed for five years, said a member of the task force.
The swoop by soldiers, public welfare officials, local administration and police on Ben Pub happened at 1 am as more than 100 people were listening to loud music. Some 29 people were found to be under 20 – 14 boys and 15 girls. Fifteen people showed tell tale purple urine tests for drugs with eleven admitting ecstasy use, three meth amphetamine and one ketamine.
Ecstasy tablets, ketamine in powder and liquid form and tramadol was found discarded under tables, on the floor and in the toilets.
Banjop Phermphoon, 34, who was looking after the pub was charged with operating without a license, operating after permitted hours, selling alcohol without a permit and selling alcohol to minors.
Head of the task force that mounted the raid Wisit Wisitsorn-at said that the matter about the operation of the pub has been referred to chief Paiboon Khumchaya of the justice ministry following orders from PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha. Apparently the club had opened in April last year and been raided twice before with no action taken despite the knowledge that illegal activities were going on.
Soldiers had carried out one raid in May of last year with positive drug tests recorded but no closure notice had been issued.
Another high ranking member of the task force Sakchai Tenghor said that the pub was a centre for drugs in the Bang Bon area and had been operating until between 3 and 4 am every day of the week. He said that this and similar establishments breaking the law would face closure of at least five years.
Underage youths were handed over to the care of public officials before parents and guardians were contacted to pick them up and be warned about their sons’ and daughters’ behavior.