New laws regulating sale of alcohol effective immediately in Thailand

New laws regulating sale of alcohol effective immediately in Thailand

New laws regulating the sale of alcohol in Thailand is effective immediately. The Prime Minister’s Office made the announcement on January 24 that alcoholic beverages can only be sold from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. daily. Mr. Samarn Futrakun, Director General of the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee stated that the total amount of hours in a day that alcohol can be purchased is capped at 10 hours.

The only exceptions to the new law are international airport terminals and legally registered entertainment venues, which are already subject to laws stating the periods during which they can operate daily.

The old law permitted the wholesale purchase of alcohol over 10 liters, to made at any hour of the day, while those purchases under 10 liters were restricted to specific times. The new regulation will affect the times of day that these purchases will be allowed, regardless of quantity.

The law means that evening entertainment venues can only sell alcohol for five hours a day, the total of which is less than regular restaurants. However, the new law does take into account the particular type of restaurant and other venues that sell alcohol.

The stated rationale behind the law is that the old law was problematic. Some speculate that limiting the afternoon hours during which liquor can be sold will help with the problem of underage alcohol sales. Although there are laws in place for this, enforcement is spotty.

Some businesses are expressing confusion over the new law. Alcohol constitutes a large portion of sales for many people in the tourist industry who own hotels, restaurants and bars, and there is some concern as to how and if the new law will affect them. It is hoped that studying the new regulations will bring more clarity to the subject.

In the meantime, any person violating the law is subject to six months in prison and/or a 10,000 Baht fine.