Bangkok police have been happily looking the other way – for a price – as bars reopen and restaurants blatantly serve alcohol along Bangkok’s Sukhumvit strip, but a Koreatown bar pushed it too far for a fat bribe to excuse.
Officers from Lumpini station, which have collecting hand-over-fist from lower Sukhumvit boozers packed to the rafters, turned around and raided the XOXO Restobar in Sukhumvit Plaza at Soi 12 about 10:45 p.m. Saturday.
When officers arrived the dance floor was full, illuminated with disco lights and lasers and beer glasses on all the tables. When the dust settled, 116 people – including 27 foreigners – were arrested and manager Sirichai Samnakhon facing another kind of music.
Officers counted 50 pitchers of beer and 60 glasses, plus more drinks being poured at the bar.
All the party people were charged with violating the emergency decree’s ban on gatherings. Sirichai additionally was charged with selling alcohol during a time when alcohol sales were banned.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said recently that the ban would be reconsidered in December along with a proposal to reopen bars and clubs.
Bangkok’s police, however, aren’t waiting, telling bar and restaurant operators that the ban will be lifted before December and that, for a “donation”, they can serve now.
Bars pretending to be restaurants have reopened, openly serving, with some putting pint glasses in paper cups or serving booze in coffee mugs.