Expats arrested after meet-up with friends breaches COVID-19 rules

Image: Daily News

It was hardly the crime of the century but an incident in Phuket should act as a reminder of how an innocent get-together with friends could leave you falling foul of the law.

A group of expats in Phuket were arrested on Sunday for breaching Thailand’s strict rules aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Their crime?

A home owner had invited some friends round for afternoon drinks.

This wasn’t a raucous or wild pool party but just a friendly meet up of two families at a villa in Choeng Thale, Bang Tao.

The raiding party included a team of police, the district chief and the local poo-yai baan, or village headman.

Thai language news site Daily News said the home owners were taken to Choeng Thale police station where they were charged with breaching the 2015 Communicable Disease Act, as well as the rules put in place by the authorities in Phuket to stop the spread of COVID-19. Their punishment was not reported.

In Prachuap Khiri Khan, while there is no outright ban on house parties, the authorities would likely take the same view as their counterparts in Phuket, should such get-togethers be brought to their attention.

In fact, Hua Hin’s COVID-19 task force has repeatedly asked for co-operation from people to refrain from organising private events, such as weddings, monk ordinations and even birthday and house parties.