Thailand’s new law banning alcohol sales in Bangkok is expected to take force next month. It doesn’t affect all of Bangkok (phew!) – but it hits outlets within 300 metres of schools (universities included), and the Thai capital has a lot of schools.
Asia-based website network Coconuts Media says the impending ban, under the military government’s special ‘Section 44’ powers, will affect shopping malls, pubs, restaurants and anywhere else within 300 metres of schools.
The only exemptions are for registered hotels and government-designated entertainment zones like Patpong, Royal City Avenue-upper Thonglor, and clubs on Ratchadapisek Road, Coconuts says.
The ban aims to stamp out student drinking and violence. It is being backed by prohibitionists but strongly opposed by alcohol sellers and drinkers (as you might expect).
Thailand’s tourism industry also opposes it.
“Imagine foreigners go into expensive restaurants but cannot order wine,” president of the Thai Alcoholic Beverage Business Association, Thanakorn Kuptajit, told Coconuts.
“Places like Hard Rock cafe in Siam or even Soi Cowboy will be affected.”
The relevant clause states: “No person shall sell alcohol beverages within 300 meters from the boundary line of tertiary education institution and vocational institution pursuant to the laws on national education.”
Citing a few instances, Coconuts points out that popular Soi Cowboy is located within 300 metres of the Srinakharinwirot University campus. Siam Paragon is across the street from Chulalongkorn University. Khaosan Road sits between Wat Chana Songkhram and Satri Witthaya schools.
The new law was signed by Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday and is expected to be officially published today, after which it will automatically take effect 30 days later on 27 August 2015, unless amended or rescinded in the interim.
Written by Peter Needham