Police raid popular disco…

As we have previously written  about Hollywood Pattaya being a terrible place to go (unless you like wasting money) then this news is not surprising. As reported by the Pattaya News, Thai police conducted a “protective” raid on the venue. The usual passport and ID checks were carried out. Remember that technically, foreigners in Thailand are required to carry their passport on their person at all times. As you can tell from this Bangkok post article:

After getting their passports stamped by Immigration, most tourists check into a hotel and lock up their passports and valuables in a safety deposit box, where they remain for the duration of their stay, unless authorities ask to see them. However, since the May 22 military coup, police in Thailand have rediscovered the existence of all kinds of laws, ranging from parking offences to encroaching on public space, which had been widely ignored in the past.

Most people don’t bother with carrying their passport around all day. The (relatively) small fine for not having it, is better than the problems that arise if you lose your passport which can easily happen if you have a bad night out. It is common to carry a photo on your phone, or a photocopy of your passport, since this is better than nothing and you may be able to talk your way out of a fine. But technically failure to carry your original passport may result in a 2,000-baht fine. A photocopy, stamped or not, or a driver’s licence is not an acceptable substitute.

Technically the police are doing the right thing as many foreign workers are illegally in Thailand, which is why there are usually immigration officers as well as police and army accompanying raids. Some women are trafficked from neighbouring poorer countries, typically Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia. It is somewhat unusual for a high end disco popular with foreigners to be raided but it goes to show that no where is exempt from the law. The crowd at Hollywood is typically highly Asian dominated with Chinese, Korean and Japanese men going there and buying top shelf liquor to show off their wealth, or to enjoy some private karaoke in the upstairs VIP areas. The pricing at Hollywood reflects this — many customers are not at all concerned about getting value for money, they are there to throw money around. A usual scenario is to go early in the night to the agogos on Walking Street and bar fine some girls, before going to Hollywood. We have heard of bar girls going as a group to Hollywood and being bought bottles of high end whiskey by customers.

If you are new to Thailand or Pattaya the thing to know is that you shouldn’t panic. The police will check your passport and if you cannot produce it you may be asked to go to the station and held until someone can go to your hotel and check the copy of the passport they have on file. The worst thing to do is argue and the best thing, in terms of getting back to your holiday, is to pay the fine. Tourists generally do not go to jail unless they have done something stupid like have drugs or vaping equipment. As we have said before, it is not worth the risk of having these items.

richard coxley

Richard Coxley is a business consultant with over 12 years experience in Asia. He enjoys playing golf. He has travelled extensively in Thailand and currently resides in Pratumnak, Pattaya.

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