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Thailand's Coke Crackdown Threatens Tourists

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, June 4, 2005
Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced this week that he's redirecting his murderous war against drugs towards cocaine users, claiming that obtaining the drug is "as easy as buying a pizza'. (

The new campaign, involving undercover cops, is likely to directly affect tourists visiting the South East Asian holiday destination, since, as Mr Thaksin pointed out in his statement, the drug's high price means coke is beyond the means of most local people. The campaign could also see an escalation of police swoops on nightclubs again, which resulted in hundreds of clubbers being drug tested, in raids in Bangkok last Christmas.

Skrufff's man-in-Bangkok Bee said the club busts have been less frequent in recent months though cautioned travellers to play it safe at all times in Thailand.

"Up until now tourists haven't really been singled out in the raids but they are still drug-tested along with locals. The previous raids took their toll on a lot of clubs along with the early closing times (all clubs now shut by 2am), although there is talk that some places in tourist areas maybe having their opening hours extended to 3am, but nothing definite yet," he said.

"But one thing's for sure; tourists returning home will tell their tales of being manhandled by scary policemen with guns and being forced to pee into test tubes before they recount stories of elephant rides and beautiful temples," he predicted.

"And regarding the coke situation and the PM's comment that 'it's as easy as pizza' to get hold of as pizza; I suppose that is true for the upper class party people but isn't that the case in every one of the world's major capitals- Basically clubbers coming to Thailand should be aware of the drug situation and avoid using them or socialising with any users altogether," he urged. "And that includes pot and pills you can buy from pharmacies. They'll bust you for those too and nobody wants to end up in a Thai jail."