Two foreign co-owners of a hostelry raided in Koh Samui on Sunday are to be charged by police. The island was closed from Tuesday to all visitors without medical certs and subject to strict screening. A 21-year-old Thai national who acted as manageress at the Bodega Hotel is also facing charges as police investigate all those arrested at the scene. This includes offending patrons of the hotel whose names have been shared on government networks.
Police raided a Ko Samui hotel run by an English woman and Swiss man on Sunday and arrested over 20 people engaged in eating and drinking while loud music was being played. Charges under the Communicable Disease Act of 2015 are being pressed against the two owners and a 21-year-old Thai woman reported to be the manager. It comes as the island is closed off to visitors from Tuesday.
Ko Samui is closed to travellers from Tuesday until the end of April unless you have a medical certificate from a public hospital. The main airport operated by Bangkok Airways on the island is also closed but ferry services are open to essential travellers and anyone with a medical certificate subject to screening and quarantine rules.
The island has now reported 6 Covid 19 virus infections and its closure will be in effect until April 30th.
The measure is a response to strong local public opinion and shows that authorities are determined to deny the virus and prevent its spread.
People continue to flock to Ko Samui up to the last day as the island is shut off from Tuesday
However, not all people are of the same mind and unfortunately, some of them are foreigners.
Despite the closedown, on Saturday, nearly 1,300 people still arrived on the southern Thai island which in the last few decades has become a favourite for western visitors.
At 11 pm on Sunday, police officers from Bo Phut station, in the Bo-phut sub-district of the island staged a raid on the Bodega Hotel situated on the road between Choengmon to Chaweng.
Police surrounded the hotel at they launched the raid for flouting the emergency decree and Covid 19 laws
Police are reported to have surrounded every exit at the venue when they approached. They found a sign covered in a vinyl film which said ‘closed’.
However, officers had intelligence and discovered that there were over twenty people inside the venue staging a party.
Local people in a nearby village in the Bophut sub-district had reported the gathering where loud music was being played.
Group of over 20 tourists found eating and drinking with a DJ playing music at the venue
Police at the scene reported finding a group of over 20 tourists seated at tables consuming alcohol and food while a DJ played music.
Police officers at the scene included Colonel Yuthana Sirisomba of Bo Phut Police Station as well as Ko Samui District Deputy District Officer Adul Phrombutr.
UK woman, a Swiss man and Thai national managing the enterprise at the time of the raid
The senior police officers spoke to the owner of the establishment identified as a 36-year-old UK woman named as Miss Tracy Anne.
A Thai woman managing the venue was identified as 21-year-old Ms Chatda Yimchang while a Swiss man, Mr Rene, was working as a DJ.
The European is also reported to be Ms Tracy’s husband and co-owner of the Bodega Hotel.
When police burst into the scene of the party, it is reported that many people made to exit the establishment only to be confronted by other officers waiting for them at all exit points.
36-year-old UK woman told police she was not sure of the new regulations and was catering for hotel guests
The UK woman, Ms Tracy, suggested as an excuse for her irresponsible actions that she was unsure of the proper opening hours and government regulations.
Senior officers at the scene had asked her if she was aware of the current Covid 19 emergency.
She also maintained to officers that all the patrons within the confines of the party area were hotel guests of the establishment.
Police rejected UK woman’s excuses
Police rejected the excuses made by the owners as the emergency decree clearly states that places serving food and drink onsite as well as large gatherings are strictly prohibited under the new laws in force.
Police are understood to be investigating the case and seized equipment at the hotel to be used as evidence together with receipts and transaction information.
Everyone at the scene arrested and taken away
Police detained all patrons of the establishment as well as the co-owner and took them to the local police station.
Those arrested were tested for fever by officers before being allowed entry to the local police facility for questioning.
Owners and manageress to be prosecuted
It is reported that the manageress of the establishment, Ms Chatda, and the co-owners Ms Tracy Anne and Mr Rene, the Swiss man and DJ, are to be initially charged with offences under the Communicable Disease Act 2015 and related orders issued by Surat Thani provincial authorities.
The charges are that the trio blatantly breached the orders made to help curb the spread of the virus in their locality by opening the hotel to serve drink and food on-site without permission and in contravention of the law.
The relevant order was issued in Surat Thani on March 17th last.
Could also be charges for breach of the emergency decree as police investigate all guests at the venue
The management and ownership of the facility may also face charges for breaching orders made under the emergency decree and orders issued concerning a nationwide curfew.
It is understood that the UK owner, Ms Tracy Anne, is married to the Swiss national.
Police are also reported to have taken the names and details of all people at the gathering and are investigating them on an individual basis.
The list is also being distributed to other agencies throughout the province and the kingdom.