Pattaya police raided a restaurant on Bali Hai pier last night around 10 pm for offering shishas also known as baraku or hookah pipes), which is highly illegal in Thailand.
The restaurant in question, Khun Keng Kitchen, is located right next to the currently closed Sky Mountain, which was previously raided six times for various violations, including using hookahs. It was unclear if the two sites were linked, but Pattaya Police said they were investigating.
Last night’s raids were personally led by Kunlachart Kunlachai, the chief of Pattaya City Police, who said Pattaya police received a tip from a “concerned citizen” that the restaurant was selling shisha against Thai law.
Police chief Kunlachart said on arrival at the restaurant they found several foreigners and Thais smoking shisha and drinking alcohol while loud music was playing. In addition, he stated that Covid19 rules such as social distancing and wearing face masks were ignored.
Pattaya police turned off the music and ordered the customers to leave, but were not arrested. However, site personnel and management were arrested and taken to the beach road police station for processing and legal action. Their names were not released.
The chief added that legal action would also be taken against the location. Shisha is illegal in Thailand and government officials claim it is because the government cares about people’s health and the ban is for health-related reasons. Critics, however, argue that the ban has nothing to do with health, but rather is due to the fact that shisha does not generate tax revenues because it is imported illegally, and that it shorts out the profitable cigarette industry of prominent individuals and groups.
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