About 120 foreigners and Thais were arrested for stealthily gathering to drink and smoke shisha in violation of the emergency decree.
Acting on tips from concerned neighbors that groups of expats and Thai women were spreading Covid-19, Chonburi police late June 25 and early June 26 raided The Garden 168 and Mo Salah, two restaurants operating underground bars, hosting parties on upper floors to hide from police.
At The Garden, 29 people drinking and socializing without masks were arrested while 72 drinking and smoking illegal baraku tobacco were taken into custody. Officers cuffed another 20 people drinking and gathering in groups on Pattaya Beach after midnight.
The operation was not easy, particularly at the four-story Mo Saleh on Walking Street where European men tried to escape on the roof or unsuccessfully hid under plants or in restrooms. None escaped.
After being taken to Pattaya Police Station, all those arrested plus 26 officers moved to Banglamung Hospital for coronavirus testing. All were detained until test results came in with anyone testing positive confined to a field hospital.
All the party people were charged with violation of the emergency decree, which carries possible heavy jail sentences and fines, while owners and managers additionally were charged with illegally selling alcohol, selling baraku and operating past legal hours.