Bangkok Bar Managers Jailed For COVID-19 Decree Violations

Krystal Nightclub

The managers of the Krystal Club and Emerald Club in Bangkok’s Thong Lor area, seen as the epicentre of the country’s third wave of COVID-19 infections, have been sentenced to two months in prison without suspension, police said yesterday.

The commander of Metropolitan Police Sub-division 5, Sopon Sarapat, said the sentences were delivered by Bangkok South Municipality Court on Friday after it found them guilty of violating both the government’s emergency decree and the Entertainment Places Act.

Both venues also may be ordered closed for five years if they were found to have opened beyond legal hours, offered prostitution on the premises and operated without a licence, Pol Maj Gen Sarapat said. The probe into the matter continues.

In light of the growing number of infections in the capital, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has ordered pubs, bars and clubs which have been linked to the latest COVID-19 outbreak to close for 14 days.

Since the third wave began, 18 police based at Thong Lor station have been infected with COVID-19, all of whom were responsible for patrolling public areas.

Some experts have suggested that while the officers may have kept their face masks on during their patrols, they may have neglected to put on gloves while out on duty, which increased their chances of contracting the virus from secondary contact.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau has logged 56 infections among its officers and staff, while a further 38 had been ordered to go into isolation, Pol Maj Gen Sarapat said.

Meanwhile, activist Srisuwan Janya said that he has petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate politicians and government officials involved in organising a charity boxing event in Songkhla early this month.

The secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution said the event was held in Chana district on 8th-9th April.

There were posters promoting the event which featured pictures of Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee, Democrat MP for Songkhla Pol Maj Gen Surin Palare, Songkhla governor Jaruwat Kliangklao, and Rear Adm Somkiat Polprayoon, the secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre, Mr Janya said.

He said the organisers claimed the event was broadcast live on television without an audience, though it was revealed later there was a crowd by the ringside.

Therefore, the event violated disease control measures issued by the provincial communicable disease committee, Mr Janya said.

He added that local police and SBPAC officials failed to enforce measures, which could constitute dereliction of duty under the Criminal Code.