Phuket nightspots want out of booze law

Phuket bar owners want an exemption from the nationwide 2am closing time, and are asking for at least 3.30am. (Photo Phuket News)

More than 10 entertainment venue operators in Phuket's Muang district have appealed to authorities on the resort island to allow them to stay open until 3.30am.

The group, led by Jirayus Songyos, owner of Mix Pub in Muang district, submitted the petition to Phuket deputy governor Sanit Srivihok at City Hall Wednesday.

A ministerial decree under the Public Entertainment Place Act specifies opening hours for different types of entertainment venues, but they must not exceed 2am across the country.

"Phuket is a tourism province. This law, which does not fit the context of Phuket, hurts tourism promotion and entertainment venues particularly, which have suffered a lot," Mr Jirayus said.

He said he wants the governor to hold talks with security officials to roll out a management plan, particularly in Phuket, to allow entertainment venues to stay open until 3.30am.

Operators have pledged not to do anything which could cause trouble for the public and authorities if they are allowed to conduct business until that hour, Mr Jirayus said.

The operators vowed neither to allow people under 20 to enter their premises nor serve them alcohol drinks, he said.

He also said they would strive to uphold the law in relation to drugs, prostitution, human trafficking as well as possession of firearms and explosives.

Few customers frequent entertainment venues in the early evening, while most come after 11pm leaving operators a limited time to make money, Mr Jirayus said.

Mr Sanit said he would forward the petition to the governor and the Interior Ministry for consideration.

He said Phuket provincial officials have recently asked the government to consider extending opening hours for entertainment venues in Patong, Phuket's tourist centre.

However, in the eyes of residents worried about the move, extending opening hours could spark a rise in crime and social ills associated with a lack of order such as human trafficking and drug abuse, the deputy governor added.

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