Pattaya bar owners were warned violence against customers would lead to immediate five-year closures. The warning came following an attack by Walking Street bar bouncers on a foreign tourist, which was caught on video and shared on social media.
The commander of Chonburi Police issued the warning at a Jan. 13 meeting after video clips of the incident earlier that day spread on the Internet.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Aumpon Buarubporn and Pattaya chief Pol Col. Sukthat Pumpunmuang also instructed owners to register all their bar staffers, waiters and security agents. Each must have a background check, photo and current address on file.
For those lacking cameras, CCTV systems were ordered installed inside and outside venues.
Representatives from Walking Street bars were brought in and told that violence against tourists will not be tolerated, no matter who starts it.
The clampdown came after one tourist was attacked by five Thai men and kicked relentlessly after he fell to the ground. Knocked unconscious, the man only survived further injury after numerous bystanders intervened to pull the Thais off the helpless foreigner.
Videos from the incident showed, however, that it was the foreign victim’s friend who started the fracas. In a separate clip from the gang attack, the victim stands nearby as his friend argues with a street vendor. He then head-butts the street vendor, setting off the fight as two men wearing jackets with “Security” on the back rush in.
Aumpon acknowledged that, in some cases, the bar customer may be the one who resorts to violence first. However, he said, security must not retaliate in kind. Instead owners were instructed that each venue would be given the direct number of a police officer who would respond promptly.
In addition to the usual bans on bars allowing entrance to minors, drugs and guns, any entertainment venue found to have staff that attacked tourists will be shut down for five years, Aumpon reiterated.