Thailand Tackling Near - University Alcohol Sales, Street Racing With Harsher Penalties Under Thai Law
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Thailand’s ruling junta has taken steps to tackle alcohol sales near schools and universities and illegal street racing, with new or harsher penalties than under past Thai law possible for those involved.

Prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha used special powers under the junta-installed constitution which, put in place after the May 2014 coup, empowers him to issue any orders he considers necessary to maintain security and public order.

Deputy government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the measures were taken to protect youths from risky behaviour and vices which could lead to societal problems in the future.

Under a five page order published in the Royal Gazette and which is now effective, public gatherings intended to conduct street racing are banned and parents must take responsibility if their children are involved in such activities. Police and state officials can temporarily confiscate cars or motorcycles suspected of being raced, and can arrest suspected racers and spectators.

Sansern said the measures were intended to “tackle the issue comprehensively, not only to go after the youth racers”.

The new order follows a major crackdown in May on the longstanding problem of street racing, in which youths blocked streets at night so they could race on them.

Meanwhile, under amendments to the Alcohol Control Act endorsed by the government and to be implemented nationwide in late August, bars, clubs and retailers will be prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages within a 300 metre radius of higher-educational institutions. The Ministry of Public Health said the measure was aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and tackling alcohol-related problems.

Public Health minister Rajata Rajatanavin said the announcement was only one measure to reduce the accessibility of alcohol among university students and other measures were needed to discourage drinking.

The Office of the Alcohol Control Committee will work with the Excise Department in setting the criteria on how the 300 metre radius is measured.

Existing regulations under Thai law prohibit retailers across the board from selling alcohol between 12 am midnight and 11 am and between 2 pm and 5 pm.

Many a law firm in Thailand can give details on such new regulations which are brought into affect, as well as existing ones and on Thai law in general. They provide a wide portfolio of legal advice and services to the local and foreign communities in Thailand, ranging from Thai labour law and Thai visa service isues, to tax consulting and accountancy. Foreigners looking at starting a business in Thailand often turn to the professional expertise of such companies to assist them in doing this, as well as in other areas such as obtaining a Thailand work permit, carrying out auditing services and in filing their yearly personal income tax.

Anti-alcohol activists and academics have been pushing for an alcohol sales ban within a 500 metre radius of universities and vocational colleges.

The Centre for Alcohol Studies found that alcohol sales near universities in Bangkok remained prevalent, with 2,869 retailers operating within a 500 metre radius of 15 universities, mainly in the Bangkok metropolitan area. A recent survey showed the presence of pubs and liquor outlets near universities had increased 72 per cent in the past five years, more than 1,000 outlets having opened since 2000. One study showed that 250,000 teens and young adults take up drinking each year.

With the ban on alcohol sales near universities and technical colleges, Thailand is placing itself at the forefront of efforts in Asia to curb alcohol consumption.

In a July 2015 article in the Bangkok Post, professor and chair of addiction policy at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health Juergen Rehm was quoted as saying Thailand had the strongest tradition of trying to curb alcohol consumption and reduce alcohol-related harms. This included a taxation mechanism, said Rehm who has worked with authorities on alcohol programs for the past decade.


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