Martial Law Invoked to Bust Pattaya Alcohol Seller

Papitcha Khanyot, 49, was arrested by soldiers for selling alcohol on a Buddhist holiday. 4 March 2015.

CHONBURI — A local military unit in Pattaya invoked martial law to detain a woman who defied the nationwide ban on alcohol sales during a Buddhist holiday yesterday.

Police say they were alerted at around 11 pm on 4 March, a Buddhist holiday known as Makha Bucha Day, that a restaurant in a hotel called Everyone's Inn in Banglamung district was selling alcohol to foreign tourists in defiance of the alcohol ban. 

Police officers arrived at the restaurant and ordered the owner, Papitcha Khanyot, 49, to cease the sales. However, Papitcha ignored the order and continued to sell alcoholic beverages to customers. She also loudly berated the police for attempting to "extort" her.

After an hour of argument, police contacted the 14th Military Circle to dispatch soldiers to arrest Papitcha. Soldiers arrived and informed the restaurant owner that she was under arrest by the power of martial law, which allows the military to detain individuals without a warrant. The Thai military imposed martial law over the entire nation when it seized power in a coup on 22 May 2014.

Papitcha then surrendered herself to the military officers. She told reporters that she preferred to be arrested by soldiers instead of police. "I don't like the police. I've always seen news about them extorting people," Papitcha said. 

Pol.Maj. Saranyapong Maithongkulthorn, an officer at Mueang Pattaya Police Station, said police have charged Papitcha with violating the ban on alcohol sales during religious holidays and insulting law enforcement officers on duty. 

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