Night entertainment operators in Patong Beach in Phuket say their businesses have lost about 100 million baht in the past week following a raid on a local bar operated by a foreigner who allegedly employed girls aged under 18 as sex workers.
Weerawit Kruesombat, chairman of Patong Entertainment Business Association, yesterday met nightspot operators to come up with measures to prevent venues from becoming involved in illegal activities including drugs and procuring minors to provide sex.
This was in response to a recent raid conducted by a special task force unit from the Department of Provincial Administration, on a bar in Soi Bangla in Kathu district last Wednesday in which two suspects were arrested.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn said on Saturday the bar was operated by a foreigner, identified only as Ronny, who has reportedly fled to Laos.
The suspect also ran bars in Bangkok and its adjacent provinces.
Mr Weerawit said the incident prompted authorities to order all entertainment venues in the area to close at 1am, which has led to a loss of earnings in the sector of at least 100 million baht during the past week.
He also urged everyone to act as the eyes and ears of the authorities to prevent further incidents.
The same owners also run four restaurants. Authorities have ordered them to shut, but the association will call on the landowner to cancel the leases following accusations of underage sex services being offered, he added.