Trouble for topless tourists in Thailand

January 6, 2016 5:39 am

 
has long been as famous for its “anything goes” tourist hedonism as for
its natural beauty, Buddhist culture and excellent cuisine. Photo / AP

Thailand has long been as famous for its “anything goes” tourist
hedonism as for its natural beauty, Buddhist culture and excellent
cuisine.
But as two young female visitors discovered on the
holiday island of Phuket, the days of Thai authorities turning a blind
eye to the excesses of Western tourists are over.
The women, an
American and an Austrian, were each fined and given a stern lesson about
Thai culture after a video emerged of them leaning topless from a
vehicle during New Year celebrations on a packed street.
The Thai junta is pursuing a crackdown on scantily clad tourists as part of a “morality cleanse” begun by the ruling generals.
Police
began a hunt for the tourists after the clip – of them in a vehicle in
Patong flashing their breasts as they doused themselves with water –
went viral on social media.
The women, named as Adrianna Martin,
20, from America, and Camille Prymann, 25, from Austria, were tracked to
a guest house and charged with indecent public exposure.

Each was fined 500 baht ($20.55) and given a lesson in Thai culture and morality by a female police officer.
“We
explained to them why such behaviour was inappropriate and charged them
with public nudity,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Sutthichai Thianpho, of
the Patong police department.
In November, Phuket city police forced three sunbathers lying in a park in bikinis to put on more clothes.
Yet
while Thailand is determined to crack down on the display of too much
skin by Western visitors, prostitution continues to flourish in tourists
spots such as Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya.
General Prayuth
Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister and junta chief, said: “Foreign tourists
should not have a perception that they can come to Thailand to commit
illegal activities as often portrayed in the movies.”
However,
Prayuth had to apologise after he appeared to suggest tourists in
bikinis could be putting themselves at risk – unless they were not
attractive. “Can they be safe in bikinis … unless they are not
beautiful?” he asked. Amid international condemnation, he quickly
apologised and said he was simply urging visitors to “be careful”.

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