Police said yesterday that people who refuse to pay a fine for not wearing a face mask in public will have to go to court and a judge will decide what their punishment should be.
The mask-wearing requirement is aimed primarily at curbing transmissions of the virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore comes with harsh penalties for anyone who breaks it, said Royal Thai Police spokesman Pol Maj Gen Yingyos Thepjamnong.
First-time offenders will be fined at least 6,000 baht, rising to 12,000 baht fine on the second occasion and a maximum of 20,000 baht on the third occasion, he said.
Pol Maj Gen Thepjamnong said officers had the discretion to lower those fines to no less than one-third of the stipulated amount, or 2,000 baht for first-time offenders, in certain cases only, including for children younger than two years old or impoverished adults.
Police officers have been advised to exercise their own judgement sensibly when enforcing the regulation, he said, so people should remember it is aimed at protecting everyone from COVID-19 and therefore strictly abide by it.
While continuing to enforce the order, police will nonetheless be open to opinions from the public, he said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha sparked a social media outcry by appearing at a COVID-19 meeting without wearing a face mask on Monday. He was later fined 6,000 baht after admitting he had been at fault.
After seeing news about him not wearing a face mask, which was against City Hall’s face mask-wearing order, on TV and social media, the PM said he felt uncomfortable about what happened, so he consulted his legal advisors and asked City Hall to fine him.
He then urged everyone to wear a mask when going out, saying that apart from not having to pay a fine, complying with the rule also helps protect everyone else from catching the virus.