CHONBURI — Police have ordered a nightclub in the resort town of Pattaya to close down for ten days after a photo of a woman appearing to perform oral sex in the venue circulated on social media.
Calling the incident "shockingly" inappropriate and unlawful, police tracked down the club, named 808 Disco Club, on Pattaya’s Walking Street and interrogated the staff last night.
A security guard told police the photo was taken shortly before the club closed at around 3am on 29 June. He said the people in the photo, a Korean man and Thai woman, were both clients of the bar at the time, and were kicked out as soon as security staff noticed what they were doing.
Police said the club’s owners will not face legal action for the lewd act because their staff quickly expelled the couple. However, the club was ordered to shut down for ten days because police discovered that the management has not been keeping records of its employees, as is required by regulations.
Pol.Col. Sukthat Pumpanmuang, the superintendent of Pattaya Police Station, said officers are still working to track down the pair in the photo and charge them with public indecency, but added that there is no CCTV footage of the incident because the club's security camera was broken.
Chakorn Kanchanawatta, an administrative official in Pattaya, which is one of the world's top destinations for sex tourism, said incident has brought "great shame" to the popular beach town.
"I will summon all entertainment establishment [owners] to acknowledge our policies to prevent such a thing from happening again," he said.
Although prostitution and sex shows are banned under Thai laws, both businesses operate openly in Pattaya other red-light districts in major cities around the country, and are mostly tolerated by authorities.
In response to the 808 Disco Club incident, an official from Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development urged the government to set clear zones for adult entertainment in Pattaya, instead of turning blind eye to the trade.
"I suggest we implement the regulation of exclusive zoning for lewd or sexual shows," said Somchai Charoenamnuaysuk, who directs the Ministry's Women and Families Department.
"For example, the Netherlands has zoning regulations. There's exclusive space for sexual shows, with restrictions on the age of the clients," he explained. "There's clear and appropriate for regulations, equipment, and laws specifically for tourism and service in those zones. It's an option for tourists. Anyone who doesn't want to see lewd and sexual shows doesn't have to visit those zones."
However, Sanpetch Suphabowornsatient, the director of a hotel association, told Khaosod that the government should respond to the incident by "campaigning and educating people about the good culture and tradition" of Thailand.
"Right now, Thailand is trying to promote the Thai way of tourism, and Buddhist way of tourism," Sanpetch said. "Thailand is a Buddhist country, yet nowadays men and women express themselves in a way that causes damages to image of the country."