City to rezone nightspots

Sukhumvit Soi Nana, Bangkok, in June. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Sukhumvit Soi Nana, Bangkok, in June. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to work with the Metropolitan Police Bureau to revise zoning for night entertainment venues.

Pol Gen Adis Ngamchitsuksri, an adviser to Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt, said the idea follows two recent fires.

One happened in Silom Soi 2 where a fire broke out on July 7 on the first floor of a six-storey building that operated as a pub. No one was hurt. The other was when the Mountain B pub in Chon Buri's Sattahip district burnt down on Aug 5 resulting in the deaths of 19 people.

Both incidents prompted safety inspections of entertainment sites in the capital. Out of 50 districts, it was found that 83 locations have safety problems. The inspections also found that most night entertainment sites are located outside nightlife zones.

Pol Gen Adis said the Interior Ministry in 2002 designated three areas in Bangkok for nightlife zones, namely Patpong Road, Makkasan Road around Royal City Avenue (RCA), and Ratchadaphisek Road. The aim was to regulate tourists and prevent them from disturbing local residents.

However, over time night entertainment venues opened in other areas.

"People have changed their lifestyle in terms of dining and hanging out. Instead of going to old places, they visit other new sites such as Thong Lor-Ekamai, Soi Ari on Phahon Yothin Road, Khao San and Lat Phrao Road which are not listed in the ministry's zoning plan," Pol Gen Adis said.

Entertainment venues under the Entertainment Place Act BE 2509 (1966) include nightclubs, massage parlours, cocktail lounges, karaoke bars, pubs and large restaurants.

The act was amended in 2003 to limit the operating hours of night entertainment venues. Nightclubs and discotheques can remain open until 2am while cocktail lounges, karaoke bars, pubs and large restaurants can operate until 1am. Massage parlours can stay open until midnight.

Pol Gen Adis said pubs in the capital required two licences -- a food licence requested through the BMA and a licence to sell alcoholic drinks from the Excise Department.

Citing information from the Metropolitan Police Bureau, there are 241 licensed pubs in the city but only 80 of them (about 33%) are located in the nightlife zones while 161 of them are located outside the zones.

However, there were another 651 locations operated without the licenses -- only 12 of them (1.8%) were located in the permitted zones while the remaining 639 places were located outside the zoning, he said.

"The zoning needs to be revised in order to keep up with changes," Pol Gen Adis said.

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  • adviser (noun): a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject - ที่ปรึกษา
  • burned down: so that a building, house or other structure burns and all is destroyed -
  • citing: mentioning as a reason - ให้ อ้างอิงเหตุผล
  • designated: chosen for a duty - แต่งตั้งให้เป็น
  • disturb: to interrupt somebody or cause them to stop when they are trying to work, sleep, etc - รบกวน
  • Excise Department (noun): the government department responsible for collecting taxes on goods made, sold or used within a country - กรมสรรพสามิต
  • inspection: an official process of checking that things are in the correct condition or that people are doing what they should - การตรวจสอบตรวจตรา
  • licence: an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต
  • revise: to change, improve, or make additions to something - แก้ไข
  • zone: an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed - พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต
  • zoning (noun): when government controls how the land is used in different areas of a city or country, limiting some areas to homes, other areas to stores and yet other areas to factories - การแบ่งอาณาเขตของประเทศหรือเมืองหนึ่งๆ ออกเป็นเขตต่างๆ
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