An art gallery and cafe in the Banglamung district was raided shortly after midnight yesterday, December 26th, after reportedly organizing a late-night Christmas party with more than 100 customers and basically being an entertainment venue, violating the orders of the Provincial Communicable Disease Committee.
Currently, entertainment venues are legally closed nationwide, as are bars and similar venues due to Covid-19 rules, notes TPN media. However, in reality, many have become different venues, such as “restaurants”, cafes, or even art galleries in the interim to stay open.
Pattaya City Police arrived at the Ma Ha Na Cafe in Jomtien near Soi 9 at around 1:46 A.M. last night after reportedly hearing loud music coming out from the venue while patrolling the area to maintain the order of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Upon arrival, more than 100 Thai and foreign customers were allegedly seen gathering and dancing along with loud music without socially distancing, wearing masks, or properly protecting themselves from the virus. Many customers reportedly fled through a back door of the venue after noticing the law enforcement, fearing potential repercussions, although Pattaya Police stated their concern was not customers but the venue itself.
However, one electronic cigarette (vaping device) was also reportedly found in a Thai customer’s belongings during the capture and this individual was detained. Thailand has some of the strictest anti-vaping laws in the world, notes TPN media, with fines higher than many other offenses.
An alleged venue operator then presented themselves to the officials, reportedly admitting that they knew that they were violating the order by arranging late-night gatherings but there were more customers last night for the Christmas celebration, so they did not call it off as they could also earn more money to pay their debt after a long business closure. Venues like restaurants serving alcohol or art galleries, even if holding Christmas events, should be shut by 11:00 P.M. per current Chonburi orders, added police.
Initially, the alleged owner, who was not named to the press by Thai police, was charged for illegally operating a service facility, selling alcoholic beverages over the specified time, and violating the order of the Communicable Disease Control Committee of Chonburi. She was described as fully cooperative by the police.
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