Integrity Legal

Archive for August, 2015

1st August 2015

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of speculation and confusion surrounding the implementation of an alcohol ban in Thailand. Initially it was reported that a new nationwide ordinance was to come into effect whereby no one would be permitted to sell alcohol near schools in Thailand. It was then reported that such an ordinance had in fact been signed. This placed some business proprietors in Thailand into a state of consternation as the effect of the new rules would have significant impact upon their businesses. Furthermore, there were those who speculated that property owners in the relevant areas might lose real estate value in light of the new regulations.

However, Thai officials apparently reversed their decision at the last minute. Notwitstanding the fact that the proposed ordiance was signed by relevant officials, the text of the newly promulgated regulation was apparently not published in the Royal Thai Gazette and it would seem the proposed regulation has been withdrawn for the time being in order to more thoroughly review the overall policy regarding alcohol consumption and distribution in Thailand.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that from the 30th through the 31st of July, Thailand maintained an effective ban on alcohol pursuant to previously enacted legislation barring alcohol sales during significant Buddhist holidays. Notwithstanding the fact that the regulatory changes noted above were rescinded it remains illegal in Thailand (except under narrow circumstances) to sell alcohol during major Buddhist holidays.

In recent years there has been an upsurge in ordinances regarding alcohol sales. It appears that officials in Thailand are attempting to balance the need to maintain tourism with the conservative outlook of the majority of Thai people, especially on the issue of alcohol consumption. Where the balance will ultimately rest remains to be seen, but it is logical to infer that the alcohol laws in Thailand may be altered in the near future. Such changes seem unlikely to be as stringent as the recently proposed rules, but some form of regulatory change may be on the horizon.

Failure to comply with relevant regulations regarding alcohol sales could result in civil and criminal penalties for individuals and companies in Thailand. As of the time of this writing this blogger has been made aware of numerous anecdotes noting heightened police presence in entertainment areas in an effort to suppress alcohol sales during the Buddhist holidays. Thai authorities take violations of alcohol regulations seriously and this is especially the case during major Buddhist holidays in Thailand. Those establishments violating alcohol regulations could see their Thai alcohol licenses suspended or even rescinded depending upon the circumstances of the situation. Liquor sales in Thailand are often a significant component of a restaurant or entertainment venue’s revenue and therefore complying with relevant regulations could prove vital to such businesses in Thailand.

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