Fed up with the government’s heavy-handed approach to pandemic restrictions—specifically, the obnoxiously long prohibition of alcohol sales—a group of restaurant and bar owners is preparing a lawsuit against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and several governing bodies.
Dubbed “Rat Fong Rat,” roughly translated to “the people suing the government,” the lawsuit is being put forth by business owners and a legal service provider, the Human Rights Lawyers Association.
The group intends to file the lawsuit today, Nov 4, demanding B7 million in compensation for damages the lockdown measures have caused their businesses, which were forced to close for several months in 2020 and 2021. Alcohol sales were also banned in bars and restaurants in January, much of February, and from April until November in 2021.
Along with the prime minister, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Commerce are listed as defendants.
“Even if the lockdown is gone, the damages from our missed opportunities are still here,” wrote representatives of the Human Rights Lawyers Association on a Facebook post, referring to a booze ban that prevented them from operating as usual.
After 18 months of near to total lockdown, Thailand has opened its borders to international visitors from 63 countries around the world
, but alcohol has remained almost taboo, with new rules restricting or outright banning booze sales being dictated almost on a whim. (Dictating: it’s what dictators do.)
Currently, restaurants in “blue zones,” such as Phuket, Krabi, and Bangkok, can serve drinks, but only until 9pm, and only with a nod of approval from the government in the form of SHA+ certification.