As beleaguered bar owners and venue operators in Pattaya struggle to keep the doors open in a ghost town that was once the world’s party resort, a new trend has begun. Drugs and sex parties at private poolside locations.
Thirty-six people were arrested by raiding police on Friday at a drugs party in Pattaya. It comes as young people and many expats still living there, increasingly ignore the struggling bars and entertainment venues in the deserted city labouring under Covid-19 restrictions and close monitoring by authorities.
Police in Pattaya raided a poolside villa in the Banglamung district of the resort city on Friday where they had reason to believe a drugs party was taking place in contravention of the Emergency Decree in force to combat the Covid 19 virus threat.
Authorities in Thailand in Bangkok and surrounding provinces such as Chonburi are particularly nervous right now of the possibility of a resurgent virus outbreak which could be caused by clusters linked with social activities and gatherings
Twenty men and sixteen women arrested
It is understood that thirty-six people were arrested at the scene including twenty men and sixteen women.
When police arrived at the property, the scene was one of a party with booming music and no observance of Covid-19 social distancing.
Drugs found by police and drug paraphernalia as officers believe parties are moving away from bars and venues in the city into private residences with pools
Most of the crowd found on the property where young people. Police quickly detected a range of drugs including marijuana and ketamine.
‘In the house, officials found ketamine and marijuana, including several items of drug-taking equipment,’ said Police Colonel Apichnan Watthanawarangkul of Huai Yai Police Station. ‘Initial investigation revealed that the group usually held drug parties at entertainment venues in Pattaya, but since the lockdown measures had limited opening hours of those businesses, they had to move their party location to this house instead.’
Location of the party house tracked down
He explained that police had been made aware that a domestic venue in the city was being used by a large network of people to throw parties during the current Covid-19 emergency.
‘Police tracked down the house following clues in another drug case which indicated that it was where young people gathered to use recreational drugs,’ he explained.
All those at the party were taken to the local police station where they were given urine tests for drugs.
They were charged with violating the Emergency Decree while those found to be using and in possession of narcotics were charged with drug offences.
Sex parties are increasingly popular in Pattaya combined with drugs, in particular, ketamine
It is understood that drug parties at private homes particularly with pools, like the one on Friday in Banglamung, have become popular in the city with many also descending into sex parties.
In January, 51-year-old Danish man, Oersted Meyer Jensen was arrested by Pattaya police in a sting operation after meeting an undercover police officer at a hospital coffee shop and attempting to supply him with ketamine and sex drugs for a similar event.
City has recently opened but it is deserted because of a dearth of foreign tourists and restrictions
The holiday city, a popular destination for millions of foreigners in western countries, has reopened in the last few weeks after the province of Chonburi was locked down due to a severe Covid-19 outbreak linked with gambling dens and spreading from neighbouring Rayong province.
However, at this time, the city is bereft of foreign tourism with hotels shut down by the Governor to allow staff to avail of government subsidies for salaries.
Bars and entertainment venues are only open based on strict Covid-19 protocols and must close at 11 pm.
Appeal for longer opening hours
In the last week, bar owners in the city have appealed to extend the opening hours as they claim even expat customers, still living in the city, are not coming out because of the restrictions.
Bars and entertainment venues are subject to Covid-19 tests every 14 days, strict social distancing measures with a maximum capacity in any venue of 300 people.