A pair of Pattaya bar owners denied ever paying off police even though monthly payments to allow after-hours operation and nude dancing have been an open secret across the country for decades.
Pattaya and Chonburi police scrambled Oct. 24 to contain the fallout from a video and photos posted to social media showing a list of Pattaya bars and the amounts they paid to specific local police officers, with amounts reaching as high as 30,000 baht.
Pol. Col. Solod Eimsa-ard, deputy commander of Chonburi Provincial Police, declared the list fake and claimed police never solicit bribes.
But go-go and beer bars in Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket and other tourists spots have allegedly been paying off authorities for decades so that they look the other way as they stay open past legal closing times and offer topless and even nude dancing, as well as “bar fines” that facilitate prostitution.
Such unsavory practices are seldom discussed publicly, with bar owners fearing repercussion that could come from such disclosures.
However, last week’s raid of Club One, a Thai-centric nightclub on Phetchtrakul Road, has overturned the apple cart, with a video posted of an argument between the club’s manager and police in which the manager demands to know why his club was raided as he thought he was protected by the payoffs.
In the wake of that video, photos of payoffs by other bars appeared online.
But Amporn Kaewsang, operator of the Stone House music bar on Walking Street Project, said she’s never paid police for anything.
Supatra Chonpol, the owner of another unidentified Walking Street bar, publicly claimed that neither she nor anyone she knew paid bribes and asserted that the list posted online involved venues that already closed or was done by someone trying to ruin the pristine image of the Royal Thai Police.