Drug raids in Thailand

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Nothing disrupts a night out like being made to pee in a cup. Luckily for me, I arrived about 20 minutes after what looked like some sort of army maneuver had taken place.

Saturday night, about 11 pm and six of us drove to a small club in Phuket Town. The club is nothing special and attracts only a few foreigners. Imagine my surprise, then, to have pulled up and seen about 30 army officers outside the front of the club, with countless flashing lights signaling that something strange was going on.

Calmly, I pulled up outside the front of the club, realizing that my friends had probably driven off at the sight of the officers. A couple of guys were sat wearing rubber gloves, no doubt testing the pee off the bemused partygoers inside the club.

What an utter waste of resources. The officers did a good job of standing around chatting before they drove off in their pickups. I understand that the local government wants to rid the island of drugs, but really, the problems related to drugs are out there on the street, not in tiny nightclubs where local bands and DJs play for students.

This type of drug testing still goes on in Bangkok, although not to the extent that it once did. I heard that one major nightclub was shut down and raided on New Year’s Eve. This disjointed, haphazard approach to drugs in the club scene is, however, sometimes seen in the UK, although it is rare and I don’t recall there even being urine samples taken.

The amount of attention the police (or the army) pay to a nightclub should depend on the type of club it is and the type of people who go there. Recalling my time in the UK, the clubs that were the known gang hangouts were raided often, while the clubs where everyone took drugs caused minimal problems and were, for the most part, left to set their own rules.

That isn’t to say that people were openly taking drugs (well, in some places they were), but clubs had their own rules and the people there understood that. There was, and is, no need for raids, except every now and then to remind clubbers that drugs are still illegal.

What are people’s thought on this matter? Are these drug raids necessary?

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6 thoughts on “Drug raids in Thailand

  1. These raids are ridiculous.

    I was caught in one last year getting out of DJ and it was just bad luck… Everybody KNEW the police would be coming and we were on our way out just before they would arrived to avoid the kerfuffle.

    Unfortunately i got caught by a friend and was 5 minutes too late! But luckily i was in the front of the queue and had only to wait for 45 minutes.

    They did not caught anybody but a couple of stupid farangs (how many times one has to say "don't do drug in Thailand…") and a few Thai boys who did not know. All the usual suspects had gone or did not go out that night…

    It was the usual circus with TV crew filming the farang and boys leaving Soi 2! One had to sign a paper all in Thai (yeah right…) and queue to pee in a converted bus…

    Better have use the occasion to give away free condoms and HIV/AIDS info…


  2. If everybody knows in advance, these raids are quite useless I think. But like many other things, it is all a matter of windowdressing. And as long as people are using drugs, the raids won't disappear I think.

  3. Some of the smaller Phuket Town clubs are where the drug problem is pretty bad.

    In terms of the difference between the UK and Thailand, Britain is a much more prosperous country where its much less likely someone will fall into a life of cheap highs or crime from their involvement in the clubscene.

    Also its a different drug of choice (or used to be), Ya Bah is strong, cheap and addictive whilst E's for example aren't addictive and weren't particularly cheap.

    America is probably a better comparison as Metamphetamine is much more popular over there, some Schools routinely have drug tests etc…

  4. Walking into the middle of a public bust as you did here is one thing, but a private bust at a house is whole other scare. Several months ago, I walked into the middle of a drug raid in a house, when all I expected to do was watch some footy. My cousin and I were lucky to be released, as apparently they believed us, but if we had showed up 10 to 15 minutes prior, and been there before the bust had gone down, perhaps we would have been screwed, especially knowing that I might have likely taken a hit from the bong! If only Thailand did like Holland, there'd certainly be less problem attics to worry about…

    -The Siamerican Wanderer

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