Laos clamps down on new year revelry

Laos clamps down on new year revelry

Lao teenagers in 2012 a splash in Vientiane during the Lao New Year, but officials there this year are cutting into the fun, closing entertainment venues early and banning “skimpy” clothing. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
Lao teenagers in 2012 a splash in Vientiane during the Lao New Year, but officials there this year are cutting into the fun, closing entertainment venues early and banning “skimpy” clothing. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

Authorities in Vientiane are clamping down on Lao New Year revellers, shutting down entertainment venues at 11pm and forbidding water play on the banks of the Mekong River.

The Vientiane Capital Police Headquarters told owners restaurants and entertainment venues this week to close at 11pm from April 14-16, when Laos celebrates its version of Songkran.

Also explicitly prohibited were: drunk driving, fireworks, throwing ice at moving vehicles, splashing coloured or dirty water on others, and "wandering around in skimpy clothes" at temples or in crowded areas.

"The public are encouraged to promote fine culture and celebrate Pi Mai Lao in the spirit of our fine  traditions," said chief of the Vientiane Capital Police Headquarters, Brig Bounxou Nammachack, told the Lao News Agency.

Playing on the Mekong River beach without permission from authorities or "without the attendance of security officials" also was outlawed.

Like Thai officials, Lao authorities said driving around in pickup trucks loaded with water tanks and buckets would not be permitted.

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