While a crackdown on smoking is underway in the Philippines, it has been reported in Thailand that three waitresses have been arrested for “promoting” drinking.
The girls — Janjira Jansaka, Nantida Poonyamanoj and Nantarika Pueakkleang — broadcast a live social media video dressed as sexy French Maids, in which they promoted a two-for-one offer on beer.
They urged (presumably male) drinkers to visit them at the Balcony Bar and Eatery in Saraburi province to take advantage of the offer on Leo beer.
But officers pounced on the barmaids last Sunday (July 30) and hauled the tearful girls to a police station.
They were arrested and released on bail while police officers (presmably male) continue to closely investigate the clip to see if it contravenes the country’s draconian Alcohol Control Act, which bans the promotion of drinking alcohol.
A statement from Sarburi police station said: “The three women were arrested because they wore improper clothes and tried to advertise alcohol.
“They advertised that there was a promotion for customers to visit the bar and drink there before 9pm where they buy one bottle of Leo and get one free.”
Janjira Jansaka admitted the offence and was charged while the other two were released pending further investigation.
The women, all in their early twenties, are thought to be the first people arrested since a fresh crackdown on promoting alcohol was launched last month.
While the law has been in place since 2008, it was not widely enforced until the current military junta began to tighten its grip on the country.
It has also announced its intention to reign in the widespread sex industry.
The renewed crusade against promoting alcohol was launched last month after four popular celebrities were investigated over social media pictures of them drinking.
Samarn Futrakul, the head of the government’s alcohol control board, ordered officials to monitor social media for celebrities and businesses promoting alcohol — including by posting pictures of drinks.
Speaking last month, police spokesman Weerachai Songmetta said: “Famous people are using social media to promote alcohol.
“They should remove their posts before action is taken against them. The law is being tightened due to social media being used to encourage people to drink.”
Samarn Futrakul, boss of the alcohol control board, has threatened to prosecute ordinary members of the public who shared pictures of alcohol on social media.
He said: “The law does not allow traditional advertising or anyone who encourages people indirectly to drink alcohol. This includes members of the public who are subject to the same laws.”
The vaguely defined 2008 law bans people from advertising alcoholic drinks or from displaying the names and logos of alcoholic drinks to promote them.
Offenders face up to one year in prison or a maximum fine of 500,000 Thai baht — about 750,000 pesos or $15,000.