Alcohol advocate challenges Thailand to drop daytime booze ban

A pro-alcohol crusader said today that he has petitioned the government to end the afternoon booze ban, once and for all.

Thanakorn Kuptajit, the former president of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, submitted his longshot proposal yesterday to the government’s legal arm to lift the longstanding ban on alcohol sales between 2pm and 5pm to boost the economy – and business owners.

“There are convenience stores selling alcoholic beverages regardless of time, so there is no point for this law,” Thanakorn told Coconuts this morning.

Thanakorn, who’s long been a lone voice calling for common-sense alcohol laws, said the proposal is backed by associations representing 16 industries including bars, restaurants, hotels, and retailers.

“If restrictions are lifted, businesses wouldn’t enter the vicious cycle of illegally selling alcohol that leads to raids and paying bribes,” he said.

Still, the socially conservative administration of Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has been moving in the other direction, ratcheting up controls and zealously prosecuting members of the public for bizarre infractions such as posting photos of alcohol on social media, as well as banning online sales.

Thanakorn’s appeal to the quasi-independent Council of State, which is tasked with interpreting and issuing opinions on the law, would ask it to strike it down at its discretion.

“The government should review this prohibition,” he said. “If you look at section 77 of the 2017 Constitution, the government has to issue a law only if necessary. They can also cancel or improve a law to better fit the situation at present, or get rid of obstructions that harm businesses or people’s ways of life.”

Thanakorn said he was still affiliated with the association and would soon announce his new role.

The ban on alcohol sales during certain hours has been in effect since 1972.

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