Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Thai cops nab 89 foreigners partying at beach bar, flouting Covid-19 rules

Police had tracked party preparations through social media sites.

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Police raided a party at a bar on a popular resort island in southern Thailand and arrested 89 foreigners for violating coronavirus regulations, officials said on Wednesday.

The Tuesday night raid on the Three Sixty Bar on Koh Phangan also netted 22 Thais, including one identified as the bar’s owner and another who sold drinks there, said police Colonel Suparerk Pankosol, superintendent of the provincial immigration office.

Island police had tracked the party plans on social media, where the bar was promoting the event to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Entry tickets were 100 baht (US$3.30), with food and drink extra, reports Sky News.

Those arrested were from more than 10 countries, including the US, UK, Switzerland and Denmark.

Photos of the raid distributed by police show almost all partygoers clothed and wearing face masks.

The gathering was illegal under a national state of emergency declared last March to combat the coronavirus.

Koh Phangan in Surat Thani province is a popular destination for young travellers and is especially known for its all-night Full Moon beach parties.

Thailand has barred virtually all tourists from entering the country since last April, so it is thought that most of the partygoers will have been tourists stranded in the country since then.

In an effort to generate a little money in its devastated tourist economy, Thai authorities have recently made it possible for selected foreigners to enter the country on, for example, long-stay golfing vacations.

However, the process of obtaining a visa is expensive and labyrinthine and has attracted few takers.

In any case, the available visas were certainly not aimed at attracting the kind of free spirited backpacking tourist who would flout the law at Full Moon beach parties.

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