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Police move in on patrons at Phuket's Icon Bar early today

Phuket Crackdown on Bars in Patong, Rawai: Patrons Test Positive

Friday, September 10, 2010
PHUKET POLICE are beginning a crackdown this evening on bars in Patong. The attention being paid to bars without licenses and bars opening after legal opening time follows a raid early this morning on late-closing bars in Rawai.

It is believed that six patrons, two men and four women, tested positive for drugs following a raid on the Icon Bar in Rawai about 3am.

Further tests will be needed to confirm the positive readings of the patrons. The owner of the Icon Bar is likely to face court for allegedly keeping the bar operating after closing hours.

The raid on the Icon Bar was carried out by police from Chalong and Phuket City on the instructions of Phuket's Police Chief, Major General Pekad Tantipong. Raids tonight in Patong are also being carried out on the orders of Major General Pekad.

A meeting on Wednesday in Phuket City about proposed reforms to Phuket's bars and drinking laws - including the possible establishment of entertainment zones - heard the manager of the Icon Bar* [see the clarification link below] suggest that 24-hour opening should be allowed, and that instead of making multiple corrupt payments to police, a once-only payment would be preferable.

Last month at a meeting with honorary consuls and representatives from embassies, Major General Pekad undertook to pursue Phuket police who, according to people at the meeting, held tourists' passports over minor offences and demanded cash to have the passports returned.

The quarterly meetings with honorary consuls were an innovation of Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob, who also would like to see extended drinking hours for expat visitors to make Phuket a more appealing destination for tourists whose holiday desires include nightlife.
Phuket Entertainment Zoning: Clarifying Who Said What
We Were Wrong Phuketwan named the female manager of Icon as a speaker at an entertainment zone meeting. Here's a correction, and a full account of what was said.
Phuket Entertainment Zoning: Clarifying Who Said What

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Phuket Crackdown on Bars in Patong, Rawai: Patrons Test Positive
Latest Debate about opening hours and entertainment venues appears to have exposed flaws in the enforcement of the present regulations. A crackdown is underway in Patong, after Rawai.
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Comments

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It's about time to start in Kata as well. Too many bars are open until sunrise.

Posted by Tinkerbell on September 10, 2010 22:13

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It would make a great novel - complain about corruption then get busted the next night!!!

Posted by Mister Ree on September 10, 2010 23:01

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Since the article says Bars on Rawai, what more bars (then the club Icon) had a visit that night ?

Posted by Anders on September 11, 2010 00:13

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I wonder what the percentage of positive drug tests would be in a Thai oriented entertainment venue?

Posted by mikey on September 11, 2010 00:43

Editor Comment:

Whether the positive tests at Icon were recorded by Thais or non-Thais is irrelevant.

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At last they are doing something positive a young Thai man lost his life outside there in the early hours of the morning when it should have been closed, there are a few other places in Rawai as well including one where a fight started which unfortunately lead to another murder

Posted by michael on September 11, 2010 00:55

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Drug use isn't a problem until society criminalises it. I wish Thailand would follow the Netherland's model instead of the US's.
Overcrowded prisons and a whole segment of the population turned into dependents is no way to achieve progress.

Posted by Ripley on September 11, 2010 08:11

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Ripley
isn't only about drug use. Can't change the way of life and the culture of Thais: what you hope is unrealistic. Also I wanna ask you, which kind of progress do you mean..

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010 09:14

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In case you didn't know. webmd.com Three puffs a day of cannabis, better known as marijuana, helps people with chronic nerve pain due to injury or surgery feel less pain and sleep better, a Canadian team has found. The research is published in CMAJ, the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

When the rest of the world is trying to legalise it Thailand continues to put people in jail. Drug use isn't a problem until society criminalises it. I wish Thailand would follow the Netherlands model instead of the US's.

Posted by Brian on September 11, 2010 09:18

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We can only applaud that crackdown but will it be 365 days a year and 24/24hrs?

By the way, most of residents (Thais and foreigners alike) are upset about the too many girly bars on the road between Chalong Circle and the Chalong Pier as noise late at night and many girls canvass customers by screaming directly in the street.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 11, 2010 10:31

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Progress is more positive effects of Govt. like health care, not imprisonment.

No need to bring nationality into this. Many governments across the world treat prefer the negative, criminalising model of economics rather than an alternative. I suspect imprisonment is an just another industry to be protected.

Posted by Ripley on September 11, 2010 11:26

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So was Icon Bar busted because the manager of said had the audacity to bring up the issue of corrupt payments to police at the local meeting?

Posted by Billy on September 11, 2010 11:30

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Well, if you ask for a one stop shopping for corruption into the face of the police commander of Phuket... what do you expect? I did not read the article before this one, I was a little shocked, how the manager could do that. That was asking for a raid. They break the law and pay off police on duty or whatever, and then tell it the commander in public, complain to him, they have to pay to many police... I would have had her arrested on the spot.

Just shows you, how some people think, they can break the law if they pay of and that earns them some right to go public with it. No it does not. Icon Bar et. al. make a lot of profit outside the law and let some enforcement officials participate, if it is true, what the manager say.

If now the authorities think to legalise the situation, because as a tourist destination entertainment after 1 am is really what you should expect, to bring that up is plain stupid. It is like you want to legalise some drugs and the pusher show up and asks for a one stop corruption officer. So crazy.

Posted by Lena on September 11, 2010 13:03

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So, let me get this right. Icon manager complains about the corrupt police and lo and behold, she's raided. Shocker, isn't it!

Nice to see things are on the level as usual.

Posted by Graham on September 11, 2010 13:33

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This had been only an hard lesson to the Icon manager, cause the discotheque didn't close yet.. Still open very late like before.

Posted by lucian on September 12, 2010 15:30

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PhuketWan should get its facts right. The manager of Icon said no such things. If Icon was the only place in Rawai checked why is this so? Only six people - that's probably better than any nightclub in western countries. There is a couple of spots in Rawai and Patong where it would be more likely 50 or more people.

Posted by BS on September 12, 2010 16:12

Editor Comment:

Our reporter has two ears, and both are in good working condition. We stand by our account of what the manager told the meeting. Highlighting the difference between the application of laws in Thailand and other countries serves no useful purpose. If you believe there are entertainment venues on Phuket where Thai laws are being broken by drug-takers, we suggest you inform the police.

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Your reporter has two very good ears, You stand by your account of what the manager said. Which manager? But you have attributed the comment to the wrong person. I do not believe he said this, the manager of the Icon. I am sure it was a lady. As I do not often go to nightclubs, whenever I go to Icon and a couple of clubs in Phuket town, inside the clubs it seems to be a well behaved and controlled crowd. Some of the other clubs I have been to on the island some of the patrons imo seem to be "crazy" (or whatever you wish to call it).

Posted by BS on September 12, 2010 21:48

Editor Comment:

The report of the meeting said: ''The manager of the Icon Club in Rawai said they were happy to pay taxes, but would really like to see the money put back into infrastructure. Too much money was asked in under-the-table payments, she said. She also suggested a 'one-stop service' so that corruption could be better organised. Major General Pekad thanked her for the comment. 'Only a few bad police take money in that way,' he said. She added: 'Yesterday customers at my club said how beautiful Nai Harn used to be years ago, but now there are drug needles for people to step on. We picked up 25 yesterday. People don't want to jog or walk. Many people have been attacked. What are the police doing?' She couldn't see any reason why Phuket could not open 24 hours, around the clock, like Spain or France.''

The question of whether a crowd is well-behaved or not doesn't really come into it. There's a no-tolerance approach to illegal drugs in Thailand. A stretch in Phuket Prison is likely to spoil any holiday.

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You keep writing incorrect information. You should check your facts. I am sorry to disaappoint you. The manager of the Icon is a man. HE did not make any such comments, to attack this man and attribute these comments to the manager of Icon and Icon? As your report says SHE. Please delete "Manager of Icon club" and put "Manager of (the correct club of the person who made the comment). I believe you have sullied the reputation of a very fine Thai gentleman.

Posted by BS on September 13, 2010 09:00

Editor Comment:

Our reporter was at Wednesday's meeting. A woman at the meeting claimed to be the manager of Icon, and spoke at some length. Her words were listened to with great interest by everyone, including Major General Pekad Tantipong, the Chief of Police on Phuket. If someone told lies at a public meeting in front of the Phuket chief of police, then they clearly have a problem. We haven't ''sullied'' anyone's reputation, BS, especially as we have made it plain the speaker was a woman. If the woman was an impostor, you should let the Chief of Police know - immediately.

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As reporters you should check your facts and make sure you attribute comments by people to the right people and venues. When someone points out a fact to you maybe you should double check it, I tried to inform you of a mistake and all you have done imo is try to attack me with your comments. The lady present at the meeting was from a nightclub But NOT ICON. I am sure now that the manager knows he will inform the police chief (please call the police chief and check your facts). I would like to thank you very much for your 'great' and 'accurate' journalism. Ha Ha! Please be more careful in the future because generally this is a good online source for myself and many other people visiting and on the Island.

Posted by BS on September 13, 2010 10:39

Editor Comment:

BS, unless the real manager presents himself to the Police Chief, we have no reason not to believe the woman is who she says she is - manager at the Icon Bar in Rawai. We've checked with other reporters at the meeting. They heard the same declaration and like us, they have no reason to believe the woman was lying. Please get back to us when you or the person you say is the real manager has talked to Major General Pekad and exposed the pretender. Then we'd be interested in asking the ''real'' manager some questions of our own, about drug-taking and the way the venue ignores the country's bar closing laws.

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Yet another sensationalist piece of reporting by some no mark reporter who couldn't cut it at a proper newspaper. Phuket Wan is a joke, at best!

[and then some more unpublishable and scandalous stuff]

Back to Phuket Wan, this disgrace of a news forum actually knows the ladies true identity but yet refuses to acknowledge it, instead they have decided run the story as it is. Can anyone who reads the Phuket Wan seriously believe anyhting they write from here on, I certainly can't. They are in fact no better than the tabloid rags who print consistent inaccuracys on a daily basis. You have no credibility what so ever.

Shame on you Phuket Wan.

Posted by Anonymous on September 14, 2010 15:21

Editor Comment:

Er, anonymous, are you a little slow? Our update has been on the front page for some hours now.
As for your baseless slurs and attempts at wit . . . your email address says it all: whocares@hotmail.com

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Ha Ha! I see you finally found out the truth. Someone tries to help you and you could not do a bit of journalism and ring someone to find out if it was correct. You could have been the first one to find out the correct information and print it. I hope phuketwan learns from this. I look forward to the reports when you go and interview the managers of all the nightclubs, bars and restaurants, businesses on the island with the facts straight. You could probably get a HAND from the POST. Last sentence a bit of training for your investigative reporters.

Posted by BS on September 15, 2010 09:44

Editor Comment:

Commenters who use 'BS' as an alias are never likely to engender much faith in editors, especially when the next day they switch from 'BS' to appear first as 'Share' then as 'Bob.'

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Editor BS has you on this one. You have to verify your sources, prior to publishing. And when some one points out your mistake you try to slam them. Anyway I like your blog, but reading these comments you came off looking rather bad.

Posted by Chris on September 23, 2010 11:27

Editor Comment:

Other readers see it differently. We're honest and ethical, and we didn't ''slam'' anyone. Our reporter considered the initial account to be correct. It turned out to be an understandable mistake, which we clarified quickly. If you are perfect, then you have a right to continue to complain. We will be moving on.


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