Thaksin’s ‘social order’ takes the life out of night life

'Social order' takes the life out of night life - March 1, 2006
[It has been pointed out to 2Bangkok that only foreign-owned/affiliated nightclubs have been repeatedly targeted and hounded into closing...]
...But nothing deflates a thriving club scene like repeated unheralded visits by a local constabulary intent on upholding "social order." And that is exactly what has been happening over the last four years. Sometimes the raiding police are accompanied by local TV crews. Exits are barred, music grinds to sudden silence, lights flash on. Confused and scared patrons who a moment before were partying down are suddenly confronted by brown-uniformed police officers who demand to see their ID's, frisk them or occasionally force them to urinate in a cup to test for drug use. The raids often last far beyond the 1 or 2 a.m. closing hours. They have rarely netted any violators.
But these attempts to regulate Thai teenagers' behavior have severely limited the nocturnal activities of over-20 clubbers and have of course been devastating for the clubs they frequent. Ministry of Sound, Tantra and Mystique have closed, and 87 is dead. Only Q Bar and Bed Supperclub remain active, and David Jacobson, co-owner of Q Bar, says that they survive partly because no new international investors will risk coming onto such an unpredictable club scene to provide competition. "Bangkok is a dead town," he said. "It was one of the most fun places in Asia." In March Q Bar is opening a branch in Singapore where it can stay open 24/7, though closing hour will be 4 a.m...
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