Thai Police Arrest 89 Foreigners for Flouting COVID Rules

People from more than 10 countries arrested in raid on island bar
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2021 10:50 AM CST
Thailand Arrests 89 Tourists for Flouting COVID Rules
In this July 5, 2020, photo, fishing vessels and boats used to ferry tourists sit idle along a deserted beach on the popular tourist island of Koh Phangan, Thailand.   (AP Photo/Adam Schreck, File)

Police and immigration officials raided a party at a bar on a popular resort island in southern Thailand and arrested 89 foreigners for violating coronavirus regulations, officials said 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 Col. Suparerk Pankosol, superintendent of the provincial immigration office. He said the gathering was illegal under a national state of emergency declared last March to combat the coronavirus, the AP reports. Those arrested were from more than 10 countries, including the US, Britain, Switzerland, and Denmark, Suparerk said.

Koh Phangan in Surat Thani province is a popular destination for young backpacking travelers and is known especially for its all-night "full moon" beach parties. Thailand has barred virtually all tourists from entering the country since last April, but it granted automatic extensions to the visas of those who were in the country when restrictions came in. The penalty for violating the state of emergency is up to two years' imprisonment and a fine of up to 40,000 baht, around $1,330. Suparerk said the arrested people were being held at the Koh Phangan police station, where investigators were preparing documents to charge them. He said police had tracked the party plans on social media, where the bar was promoting the event to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

(More Thailand stories.)

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