BANGKOK — Per yearly tradition, police on Thursday said the force is set to patrol love motels and entertainment venues on Valentine’s Day tomorrow to prevent young people from committing immoral acts and deter any sexual crimes.
Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said both uniformed and plainclothes police will be on the lookout at those venues and other areas, like public parks at night. Additional checkpoints will be set up. The measure is part of the annual crackdown on Valentine’s Day, which is believed by conservative Thais to influence young people to have sex.
He also urged young people to uphold decent Thai traditions, and said parents should warn their children to protect themselves from those who might lead them astray or engage in illegal activities.
Anyone who sees potentially illegal activities on the Day of Love should alert police by dialing 191 or 1599. They can also use the police application “I Lert You” (ha).
But some NGOs say the authorities should spend more effort on promoting safe sex and enforce the laws with the same enthusiasm everyday.
Jaded Chaowilai, director of advocacy group Women and Men Progressive Movement, said the police’s obsession with teenagers having sex on Valentine’s Day is out of step with the 21st century.
“Younger generation has moved far beyond that, and they can have sex not just on Valentine’s Day anyway,” Jaded said. “Police still see sexual intercourse as a problem. Police efforts should be committed on cracking down on general crimes.”
Instead of the moral crusade, the activist said said there should be more education about sex safe and better access to sexual protections. Schools should also teach children to uphold gender equality and treat members of the opposite sex with respect, he said.
Women rights activist Naiyana Supapung if police are truly concerned about adults exploiting underage individuals in hotels and love motels, they should have launched their patrols everyday and not just Valentine’s Day.
“They should have the measures enforced at risky venues everyday,” Naiyana said.
Thai authorities often drew ridicule from social media for making strange, wacky comments related to Valentine’s Day.
In 2014, an official suggested teens should celebrate Valentine’s in temples to ensure good behavior, while in 2017 a health department hands out vitamins to encourage procreation on Valentine’s and combat the country’s falling birthrates.