Police call for longer opening hours gets mixed reviews
- Published: 15/04/2013 at 11:23 PM
- Online news:
A police proposal to extend nightlife closing times by two hours to 4am is getting a mixed reaction.
No need to close just yet. If the police get their way, Bangkok closing times will move back from 2am to 4am. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) has proposed the extension as part of preparations for the Asean Economic Community (AEC) launch in 2015.
MPB deputy chief Pol Maj Gen Adul Narongsak said last week the bureau is preparing to submit the proposal to the Interior Ministry.
The proposal seeks to amend the law controlling entertainment venues so bar and nightclub closing times can be extended.
The Bangkok Post talked to several people who would be affected by extended closing times - bar operators, a student and an activist.
Chaiyot Yimsamai, the owner of a bar in Din Daeng district, said he agreed with the proposal because he stands to profit from it.
He said the new rule, if approved, could be a boon for his business because more tourists and foreigners will visit Thailand, and especially Bangkok, after the AEC's launch, and many of them would like to enjoy the city's nightlife.
"If I can open my bar until 4am, I can make more money to feed my family and employees," he said.
But another bar operator said he did not expect a later closing time to make much difference to his bottom line, and in fact would probably not stay open any later anyway.
Nonthadetch Booranasitthiporn, who runs a bar in Phaya Thai district, predicted few customers after 2am. Most of them visit his bar from 10pm and are happy to go home at 2am, he said.
Mr Nonthadetch added that even if the extended opening hours were approved, he would probably still close as normal at 2am to give his staff more time to clean the venue.
Another bar owner, Aphirak Beaupracha, who owns a nightlife venue in Watthana district, said he could see good points and bad about the proposal.
"I may make more money, but my employees would have to work harder and I may lose staff as a result," he said.
He said many customers are fans of European football and they often ask him to stay open during matches which are broadcast about 2-3am Thai time.
"From a business point of view, I can't deny that a change in the closing time would be agreeable," he said.
Surasit Sinlapa-ngam, director of the Don't Drive Drunk Foundation, however, disagrees with the proposal.
He said it was inappropriate to cite the AEC's launch in proposing the new closing times.
Bars and nightclubs should close at reasonable times to help reduce road accidents and crimes, Mr Surasit said.
"There are many other ways to welcome foreigners and tourists after the launch of the AEC," he said.
He suggested improving Thailand's tourist attractions and promoting Thai culture would be a more responsible approach.
"Attracting foreigners and tourists with late-night bars and nightclubs is not a good idea," he said.
University student Aitsaya Harakarn, 18, said later closing times could help cut crime.
"Changing the closing time to 4am could reduce crime, particularly rape and robbery, because it will be morning by the time would-be burglars and rapists leave the bars," she said.
She believed they would be less likely to commit crimes after 4am because it is the start of a new day and some early-risers would already be up and about.
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Writer: Natchapon Jindanon and Panida Wonganan