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From: "Chung To at netvigator"
To: "To Chung netvigator" Subject: Report on Recent Crackdown in Bangkok Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 13:17:23 +0800
Crackdown on Gay Bars: Bangkok, Summer, 2001
There has been many talks about the recent events affecting Bangkok's gay scene.
Below please find a detailed report about the situation.
CRACKDOWN ON GAY BARS: BANGKOK, SUMMER, 2001
On Monday, July 23rd, 2001, two plain-clothes police officers came into Dream Boy Bar, a gay host bar on Suriwong Road close to the famous Patpong nightclub area in the main business district of Bangkok. A large, well-run gay host bar has operated at this site for perhaps twenty years, with over 40 go-go boys. The result of the police visit was a quick change in the two nightly shows, held at 10:30 and 12:30. That night there would be no nudity. The big cock show and the sex show were cancelled. Go-go dancing continued. As before, a customer could pay the off-fee to the bar and have one of the hosts go with him. The incident was unusual, but not very serious. The bar was not closed. No one was arrested. Many customers would not have realized that anything had happened.
This event occurred in "week one" of an unprecedented series of police actions initially aimed mainly at the gay host bars. At one point six gay bars in the central Suriwong-Patpong area were closed. Sex shows involving nudity ended. Even go-go dancing in briefs stopped at certain bars. Apparently heterosexual bars were also told to limit their shows (though the straight bars had no shows with intercourse). Both straight and gay bars were told to close earlier than before. Bars were told to block the entry of persons under 20 (though 18 is the minimum age to work in a bar), enforcing a policy announced earlier. Uniformed police began to check ids on weekends at the entrance to Silom Soi 4, the small side street with Telephone and Balcony Bars, and Sphinx restaurant. One gay disco was raided and closed for weeks. Certain male massage parlors and saunas faced problems, and some closures. The reasons given by police were drugs, underage patrons or failure to close on time. Most gay restaurants, saunas, massage parlors and hotels were not directly affected. Beginning in week three, all thirteen small gay host bars in the more distant Saphan Khwai area were closed.
Moral concerns had featured in the English language papers in the months before the crackdown. In the first half of 2001 stories about young people using drugs in discos, the imposition of the death penalty against drug dealers, the ending of royal pardons for drug dealers, and the scandal of young female students selling sex to pay tuition or buy luxuries featured prominently in the English language Bangkok newspapers. These scandals form the background to the government's crackdown on entertainment venues.
The two English language Bangkok newspapers have had no stories on the actions against gay businesses. The first coverage of what the press called the "crackdown" came with curt notes on new closing times in Bernard Trink's weekly column in the Bangkok Post devoted to the heterosexual bar scene. By late August the English language papers were giving full coverage to the crackdown, with investigative reporting, editorials and editorial cartoons. The stories focused on the issues of drug use and the enforcement of closing hours, as Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun personally led police visits to straight bars and ordered the transfer of police officials. Police began entrapping young female students selling sex on the internet.  The newspaper stories made no mention of gay venues. When a news story identified DJ Station as the subject of a raid, it was not identified as a gay disco. The actions against gay bars had come earlier than what the papers reported as the "crackdown." The gay story, as far as the English language papers are concerned, is still in the closet, unmentioned, unacknowledged. A reading of press suggests a purely heterosexual context for the police actions.
In an editorial the English-language newspaper The Nation identified the problems with previous crackdowns.
Most of the anti-vice campaigns in the past were launched with much fanfare and then fizzled out without anyone noticing. Several factors contributed to the failure to enforce the law governing entertainment venues closing at 2am, and keeping underage minors out of these places.
It is an open secret that virtually all operators in the entertainment businesses bribe police to turn a blind eye to their violations of the law, including admitting underage minors and staying open beyond the 2am closing time. Many corrupt police are also paid to look the other way when more sinister activities, such as prostitution and peddling of illicit drugs, take place in these venues.
THE TELEVISION STORIES In late July, ITV ran a series of five investigative reports about the gay host bars on an investigative program following the evening television news. The series was promoted by television spots that showed the gymnastic sex show in the Boys of Bangkok bar: two young men engaged in anal sex and swinging from overhead bars. Reporters used a hidden camera to get the footage. One of the ITV episodes gave inflated estimates of the amount of money a young man could make working in the bars, leading one bar owner to joke that bus tickets to Bangkok immediately sold out in the north-east of Thailand. One episode talked of instances of customers being robbed by hosts. Channel 9 did its own expose, copying the ITV initiative.
ITV is owned by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Shin Corporation, leading some people to think the programs were linked to government policy. A series of stories in the English language press over the summer of 2001 have accused the government of attempting to control the media. In a story sharply critical of Thaksin, the Far Eastern Economic Review commented that Shin Corporation bought and effectively muzzled the country's only independent television station ITV, just in time to assure favourable election coverage.
The television shows created a scandal. What was discretely private, though in full view for those who wished to see it, was now, at least temporarily, very public. They dealt with the gay scene and preceded the police actions against the gay bars.
THAKSIN AND PURACHAI The government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra came to office in February, 2001 with a clear majority of seats in parliament and a commitment to combating drugs, vice and illegal businesses.
Both Prime Minister Thaksin and Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun have backgrounds in the police. They met and became close friends at the Police Academy. Thaksin studied criminal justice in the United States, gaining a doctorate. He went into business and became a telecommunications multimillionaire. Purachai obtained a doctorate in criminology from Florida State University and, after heading security at the Police Academy, became a senior lecturer at the National Institute of Development Administration, subsequently becoming Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, and twice the Rector. Under his administration the Institute opened evening PhD courses and eight new campuses in the provinces. After 14 years at the Institute, he left in 1996 to become the running mate of Major General Chamlong Srimuang for Mayor of Bangkok. Chamlong, a charismatic, strictly religious political activist had formed the Palang Dharma Party and brought Thaksin into its leadership. Neither Chamlong nor Purachai were elected in 1996. Purachai then worked for two years for Thaksin's Shin Corporation, responsible for research and development. In 1998 Purachai became Secretary-General of Thaksin's new Thai Rak Thai party. He has said that as interior minister "it is my mission to fight three wars: drugs, corruption, and poverty." He is a novice politician, close to the Prime Minister, with a reputation for not being corrupt.
Purachai told Somyos that he should strive to boost the service and image of entertainment places because countries such as China had already protested that their government officials had been taken to watch sex shows at night-entertainment places while on a visit to Thailand.
"Its very humiliating. We should allow no more sex shows to exist," Purachai said.
The government will strictly enforce laws against offensive entertainment venues in an effort to deter children from taking illegal drugs and engaging in prostitution, Purachai said.
Slightly later, the head of the government's Tourism Authority of Thailand spoke against sex tourism.
Pradech said that TAT's strategies included the promotion of Thailand as a family destination, encouraging more female visitors, the development of cultural tourism and the launching of campaigns to deter tourists from visiting the country for sexual purposes of any kinds.
Under Purachai the Interior Ministry developed plans to zone the entertainment areas, concerned with the proliferation of night-time venues throughout Bangkok. The Bangkok Municipal Administration has identified six areas as entertainment zones, but Purachai has suggested he may only approve three. When the areas are defined, opening hours can be extended for venues in those areas. Existing bars outside the new zones will not be closed, but new bars will only be possible in the zones.
The Nation ran a front-page story on August 20th under the headline "Purachai vows to erase social ills." In it, Purachai sets out a highly moralistic and conservative agenda. The story was based on an interview for The Nation News Talk program on Channel 9.
Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun says he will give a new face to the country within four years by eradicating the spread of illicit drugs, prostitution and casual sex among children.
Purachai said he would erase social ills and create an orderly society for quality people to live in. He said a good country should be one where children stayed at home with their parents at night and only a few people visited the appropriate entertainment venues in designated areas.
"People must show their identity cards to prove that they are legally mature before they enter night-time places, even those where no sex shows are allowed," Purachai said.
According to him, the idea of regulating society emerged at a workshop chaired by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Chiang Rai last March.
The Interior Ministry then swiftly enforced laws against entertainment venues that opened beyond the authorized time of 2am. It will also launch a new version of the Entertainment Venues Act to better monitor nightclubs.
When the amended act becomes effective, it will restrict the night-time entertainment places to certain designated areas and bar such venues from operating near temples and schools. "All kinds of entertainment venues, including karaoke lounges, will have to seek approval on a year-to-year basis if they want to open past midnight," he said.
Purachai says these measures will enable officials to check that no underage children are allowed there. He added this was crucial because these places generally encouraged drug abuse and prostitution.
"It breaks my heart to see young females aged between 12 and 13 enter the flesh trade in the desperate hope of paying for their nocturnal activities," he said.
Preventative measures must be taken to prevent children from falling prey to profit-making businesses, adding that these valuable children had to be protected.
He also wished to bring back the Thai lady of what he called "the good old days", who maintained modesty and valued the importance of virginity.
"Thai ladies in the old time would never walk so close to their boyfriends like modern girls are now doing," he said, adding that families and schools should play a key role in inculcating good values in children.
Bernard Trink commented: "we have a leader in high places determined to end sin."
In April, 2001, Purachai said that legally recognizing gay marriages might be a good thing. The comment was made in the context of requiring unmarried individuals, specifically mistresses, to make declarations of their wealth in the investigation of possible corruption on the part of their partners. The lesbian group Anjaree "handed the Minister a note thanking him for his statement." After all, Purachai had publicly recognized that stable same-sex couples existed. His recognition of this fact suggests that he is not homophobic. It would seem to follow that his campaigns are honestly aimed only at corruption, gambling, drugs, youth and late night venues. His espousal of "family values" may not have an anti-homosexual subtext.
In discussions of the crackdown on bars there have been suggestions of a double standard, a deliberate targeting of gay venues by the government. Some targeting of gay venues has clearly happened, but the question is whether this has been on the initiative of local police offices, or whether direction has come from above. A local observer reported a police statement on television suggesting the stopping of male prostitution because it was "unusual," while saying that heterosexual prostitution could not realistically be ended. The English language Bangkok papers have had no statements by politicians or officials indicating a specific campaign against gay venues or male prostitution.
WHAT HAPPENED? WEEK ONE - July 23rd to July 29th: The most visible gay host bars, and those with the most sensational shows, are located in the Suriwong-Patpong area. There are eight gay host bars on Soi Duangthawee, off Suriwong Road. On the other side of Suriwong are three more bars, Jupiter, Dream Boy and Screw Boy. In these bars sex shows and shows involving nudity, with exceptions, stopped in week one.
WEEK TWO - July 30th to August 5th: On Wednesday, August 1st, the police closed Future Boys. By Friday, August 3rd, six bars were closed. Two small bars nearby on Rama IV Road, My Way and Up 2 continued to have go-go dancing on August 3rd, though My Way had discretely turned off its exterior sign.
The bars of the BBB Group (Boys of Bangkok, Blue Star and Dream Boy) were not closed. They had go-go dancing and shows that involved no nudity. While it was commonplace for the gay host bars not to be licensed, the BBB Group had gone to the trouble and expense of ensuring that their bars were licensed (perhaps in reaction to the Thaksin governments stated concerns with vice and illegal businesses). Licensing does not allow sex shows or late openings. The BBB bars continued to operate even when neighbouring bars were closed.
The oldest continuously operating gay host bar, Twilight, operated on Sunday, August 5th as if nothing had changed - go-go dancing, nudity and a sex show. A few blocks up Suriwong towards the river, on side streets, are five bars. On August 5th one of the oldest bars, Super Lex, had go-go dancing and a solo masturbation show. That evening the large and popular Tawan muscle man bar was effectively closed. A customer could buy a drink, but there were no shows, no go-go dancing and no customers. A few boys were around, in street clothes. Across the street, the small Tomahawk bar was operating as usual with go-go dancing.
There are thirteen small gay host bars in the more distant Saphan Khwai area. None of these bars had ever had shows involving nudity or sex, and only about half had go-go dancing. In week two go-go dancing was stopped. On Sunday, August 5th, Aladdin bar was closed. Apache Boy and Charmming were effectively closed, though a customer could buy a drink if he wanted. Some bars maintained their previous pattern of having hosts seated in the bar in street clothes. One bar said that a customer could order a drink and talk to the boys, but he would not be able to "off" any boy.
Police were active in requiring drug tests of patrons in some venues. On August 2nd police raided the straight Q Bar, subjecting 200 patrons to urine drug tests. Stories of compulsory urine drug tests became a regular feature in the newspapers.
WEEK THREE - August 6th to August 12th: On Monday, August 6th, as if nothing had happened, Screw Boy Bar, just off Suriwong, was open again with go-go dancing. There was no nudity and no show. Then abruptly at 9:30 the bar closed. Apparently police had raided a previously closed bar on Soi Dungthawee, either New Man or X-Treme, and taken some hosts to the police station.
When police appear in these situations, they are in plain clothes, and much of the control is actually exercised through telephone calls. No uniformed police were visible on Soi Duangthawee over the next hour or so.
After 10:00 all the gay bars in the Suriwong-Patpong-Dungthawee area had closed. The BBB Group bars were closed. Twilight was closed. Dicks Cafe, with no hosts and no show, was the only gay venue still operating on Soi Dungthawee.
Then the farang owner of the BBB bars reopened his bars. Customers started drifting back in, confused over what was going on. The hosts were now in street clothes. Drinks were available. There was no go-go dancing and no shows. At Blue Star, instead of paying an "off", a customer could buy the host a "special drink" for 300 Baht. The drink could be consumed anywhere.
That week Tawan bar reinvented itself. It now had a Thai boxing show and karaoke. There was no go-go dancing. A good number of hosts were available, dressed in street clothes. Business was terrible. On August 7th Tomahawk Bar had go-go dancing, the boys in Dream Boy were in street clothes, and Twilight was closed.
On August 8th, the BBB bars had go-go dancing, and shows, but no nudity. Twilight was open. Future Boys, closed since the 3rd, was open. The hosts were in street clothes. There was no go-go dancing and no show. It closed at 11:30. The BBB Group closed at 12:30.
On Friday, August 10th, Screw Boy, New Man, X-Treme and Classic2 were still closed. Other bars were open with go-go dancing. Future Boys was open with go-go dancing and shows that involved no nudity. One standard bar show involves hosts dancing under black lights, with their bodies painted. That night one boy had the letters ITV written on his back, surrounded by the outline of a large foot. Rising from his shorts was the outline of a hand, giving ITV the finger.
That evening Interior Minister Purachai inspected several entertainment districts along with the city police chief and 30 officers. Purachai was reported to be "furious" when he found a venue on Soi Patpong, the heterosexual Music Cafe, open after 2 a.m. As a result, according to the newspaper account, he ordered the police superintendent of the Bangrak police station to be transferred and investigated. The article made little sense. The transfer was an extreme act if all that was involved was a breach of the closing law by one bar. And the article made no mention of the more general crackdown that was continuing. Clearly much more was going on. The Bangkok Post story included these sentences:
Pol Lt-Gen Anan called a meeting of the chiefs of all city stations yesterday to stress Mr Purachai's strict anti-drugs policy. The interior minister did not want entertainment venues to become havens of vice. Several venues were thought to sell drugs and allow entry to underage patrons. The [anonymous] source [for the story] said Pol Lt-Gen Anan showed the chiefs a videotape of gambling dens and entertainment venues and told them they would be removed if illegal activities were not stopped.
As a result of raids on August 10th, the gay disco DJ Station and the straight Music Bar were closed for a few weeks.
Sunday, August 12th, was the Queen's birthday. Such royal events get extensive public recognition in Thailand. Amazingly, all bars were closed, straight and gay. The only time such general closures have occurred in the past has been on the most important Buddhist religious holiday (and even that closure has not been strictly enforced in recent years). Dick's Cafe remained open. The popular Telephone and Balcony bars, off Silom road, close to Patpong, with no shows and no hosts, were closed. Touts were urging gay tourists to visit a "new" gay bar, on the other side of Silom. In that area, under the jurisdiction of a different police station, there are two or three quite marginal small gay host bars. The Sunday closings were not the result of the Friday night inspection by the Minister of the Interior, for bar owners had been given earlier notice to close on the Queen's birthday.
WEEK FOUR - August 13th to August 19th: The Queen's birthday passed. Most of the gay host bars reopened. Not all were able to resume go-go dancing. On Soi Duangthawee three or four remained closed. On Wednesday, August 15th, the police held a meeting with the owners of straight and gay bars. A new police chief for the Bangrak district was now in place. Perhaps the Sunday closings had been his signal of control. Perhaps the events marked the relatively new Thaksin governments placing of its own man in the lucrative Bangrak police office. Bar owners left the meeting feeling fairly confident that things would stabilize in two or three weeks.
Obelisk Sauna was raided on Saturday, August 18th. On a visit on August 18th all thirteen Saphan Khwai gay bars were completely closed.
WEEK FIVE - August 20th to August 26th: Things were returning to normal. Classic2nd on Soi Duangthawee, long closed, reopened with go-go dancing on Thursday, August 23rd. That night go-go dancing resumed at Tawan bar. After a disastrous twenty-two days of boys in street clothes, the bar now had a "dancing license." There were still no sex shows and no nudity. Screw Boy Bar resumed go-go dancing on Friday the 14th.
Most startlingly, sex shows had resumed at Future Boys on Monday August 20th. But that only lasted five days. On Saturday August 25th, the ban on nudity resumed at Future Boys. The Saphan Khwai bars were still closed.
Purachai's new "social order" was clearly spelled out in an interview on Friday, August 24th. Now liquor was not to be served after midnight, and venues had to be closed by 2 a.m.
Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombum yesterday shrugged off the protests of entertainment workers and operators against having to close at 2 am, saying he would firmly enforce the operating hours limit as well as a new midnight limit for serving drinks at all night venues.
"Protest or no protest, I don't care. But any place found to continue past closing time may be temporarily shut down and may lose its licence altogether," he said.
The impact on the Royal City Avenue straight bars was immense. Seventy-four nightspots had closed, leaving three operating. On Saturday, August 25th, Purachai led another big raid, this time on the Grand Music Hall, not a gay venue. It was found to be operating at 2:30 a.m. Of 191 patrons, nine were underage and up to 16 proved positive on drug-urine tests. Three leading police officers were ordered transferred.
WEEK SIX - August 27th to September 2nd: On Tuesday, August 28th, Tomahawk Bar was closed (along with New Man and X-Treme which had been closed for weeks). There were no sex shows or nudity in the bars. Future Boys hired some TV celebrities from Channel 7 to do a comedy show - fat male entertainers simulating go-go dancing and a fuck show. It was very funny. The audience, including two plain clothes police officers, loved the show.
WHAT WAS GOING ON? The police actions have not been targeting underage prostitution. For a number of years boys under 18 have been barred from working in the gay host bars. Police actions, as well, have stopped younger boys from hanging around Robinsons Department Store on the corner of Silom and Rama IV. The hosts in the gay bars are routinely referred to as "boys," and bar names like "Dream Boy" and "Future Boys" are common. The word, "boy," or "dek" in Thai, is a common term for males in a service capacity. It indicates lower status, not necessarily young age.
In their actions the police have not been targeting prostitution, as such. The actions against the gay bars have not focused on the availability of hosts. Shows have been curtailed, including go-go dancing at some bars, but hosts continued to be available (except in Saphan Khwai). The police have not shown equal concern for the heterosexual bars with female hosts. Those bars operate on the same basis as the gay host bars, and often in close proximity. Go-go dancing was stopped for a couple of weeks in Screw Boy Bar, but continued at Pink Panther, a straight bar next door. The straight bars have their special shows and nudity, but no shows with intercourse.
One part of the story is that police have given more respect to the bars that have proper licenses. Police have often told bar owners that things would ease up in a week or in two weeks, but those promises have often proven unreliable.
The crackdown has been controversial. Under the headline "Crackdown on bars 'will hurt tourism'," The Nation quoted some critics.
Sompop Manarangsan, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Economics, said the night-time entertainment sector employed hundreds of thousands of people and the restrictions enforced recently might affect the employment of those workers.
"We have to accept that foreign tourists like the nightlife in our country. The restriction on the hours affects tourism, which is the one important sector the government is pinning its hopes on to boost our sluggish economy," he said.
A local magazine editor complained of a double standard in a widely circulated e-mail:
It is unfair that the government chose to crack down on the male prostitutes, while leaving the female prostitutes alone. The government is indirectly discriminating against Thai gays. This shows how homophobic the government is.
Purachai also had critics within his Thai Rak Thai party:
Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun and Deputy Education Minister Sirikorn Maneerin yesterday faced a barrage of criticism at a Thai Rak Thai party meeting, prompting the former to walk out as a verbal attack escalated.
Purachai-led raids into entertainment venues in his active bid to install a new "social order" in Bangkok were viewed as detrimental to the party's political support base because night-spot operators would likely turn to other parties, an informed source said.
"Next time Purachai should try running as a constituency-MP candidate [rather than on the party list] - he'll see how hard it is to woo the voters' favour," an MP at the meeting was quoted as saying.
There was criticism, but there was also support. An opinion poll with 1,215 respondents showed 60 percent support for Purachai's "social order" campaign. Purachai, himself, indicated his determination to continue.
Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun shrugged off mounting pressure against the clampdown on nightspots. Early closing has drawn protests from operators who claim it is bad for business.
"There's nothing unusual about it. Surely some people will make a racket because they are about the lose benefits," he said.
Mr. Purachai said the operators had exploited lax enforcement of laws for too long. They were well aware of the law governing nightspots when they joined the industry.
Mr. Purachai said he had no objection to extending operating hours, but it would be considered only after zoning was in place.
The minister also warned police against lax enforcement.
Over the weeks described in this note, the sex shows that were a feature of most of the gay host bars in the Suriwong-Patpong area stopped, along with other shows that involved nudity (with certain exceptions). All of the gay host bars were affected, though some were never closed for more than twenty minutes, except for the general closing on the Queen's birthday. Apart from that day, customers could find a bar with go-go dancing. Even in situations of complete closures - the Queen's birthday and the Saphan Khwai closings - it was possible to find a bar with no exterior signs of life, that was functioning behind closed doors, warmly welcoming a few knowing customers. Tourists and other customers continued to frequent the Suriwong-Patpong area. Some bar managers said business was down. Some bars, like Tawan and Screw Boy, suffered badly without their shows, drawing few customers.
Go-go dancing is back to normal, except in Saphan Khwai where gay bars remain closed. How long will the restrictions on sex shows last? No one can say. Tourists seemed good-natured about the events. With minor exceptions those visiting gay venues did not see uniformed police. The large scale raids occurred mainly at straight venues. Little or nothing happened that would make gay tourists apprehensive. There were still friendly hosts they could meet and places to dance and drink.
 This policy was announced in June, though cabinet endorsement was still required: Nightspots must check customer ages or face fine, Bangkok Post, June 8, 2001.
 Similar police checks were established at Royal City Avenue, an area of straight bars. See Poona Antaseeda, Killjoy clampdown sends nightlife reeling, Bangkok Post, Sunday, August 26, 2001, Perspective, 1.
 Much of the information in this note is based on visits to the gay bars and conversations with owners, managers and bar boys.
 Bernard Trink's weekly column, Nite Owl, is full of current news on the heterosexual bars. His column A Flourishing Scam, Bangkok Post, Friday August 10, 2001, 5, indicated that the police the previous week had told the Patpong bars to close at 12:30. Asked why, the fuzz responded: "Orders." How long this crackdown continues remains to be seen." One week later in Farangs as fall guys, Bangkok Post, Friday, August 17, 2001, 5, he commented: "The closing time for oases in the metropolis is 1:30 am until further notice. 'Nuff said."
 Anan Paengnoy, Bars hit by early closures, The Nation, Friday, August 24, 2001, 1; Minister vows to crack whip, The Nation, Saturday, August 25, 2001, 1; Killjoy clampdown sends nightlife reeling, Poona Antaseeda, Bangkok Post, Sunday, August 26, 2001, Perspective, 1.
 At the initiative of Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun "who wants to clean up society" about ten policemen were assigned to investigate solicitation of sex over the internet: Natee Vichitsorasatra, Online crackdown nets 3, The Nation, Saturday, August 4, 2001, 7A.
 Crackdown may be hard to achieve, The Nation, Saturday, August 25, 2001,4A.
 Shawn W. Crispin, Rodney Tasker, All the Power in His Hands, Far Eastern Economic Review, August 16, 2001, 16. Thaksin is very popular in Thailand, but publications like the Bangkok English-language newspapers and the Far Eastern Economic Review are quite hostile to him.
 Chamlong belongs to an unorthodox Buddhist group, Santi Asok, and has publicly spoken about renouncing sex with his wife. While he seemed a rather puritanical figure, wearing a simple blue farmers shirt and a military brushcut, he did not move against night clubs when he was Governor (Mayor) of Bangkok. He publicly opposed the military leader Suchinda, who came to power in the last coup in Thailand. His hunger strike mobilized opposition and led the King to intervene in a remarkable meeting with both Chamlong and Suchinda, which was shown on television. Chamlong's Palang Dharma party did poorly in national elections and eventually, in effect, merged with Thai Rak Thai.
 One ex-cop for another, Bangkok Post, December 14, 2000; Poona Antaseeda, The man most likely, Bangkok Post, July 29, 2001.
 'Clean up nightspots', The Nation, Friday, June 22, 2001, 2A.
 Mukdawan Sakboon, In-flight warnings proposed, The Nation, Monday, July 2, 2001, 6A.
 Minister vows to crack whip, The Nation, Saturday, August 25, 2001, 1; Three areas to be picked, Bangkok Post, Saturday, August 25, 2001, 2; BMA to Interior: Do it yourself, The Nation, Wednesday, August 29, 2001, 1A.
 Purachai vows to erase social ills, The Nation, Monday, August 20, 2001, 1.
 Bernard Trink, Immorality beckons, Bangkok Post, Friday, August 24, 2001, 5.
 Mr. Purachai was investigating whether General Sunthorn, with an estate of over four billion bath, had been corrupt. Sunthorn's mistress, with whom he had been living, sought to become executor of the estate, a move contested by Sunthorn's legal wife. See Purachai not sticking to job, says MP, Bangkok Post, April 8, 2001; Purachai has lost his way, Bangkok Post, April 13, 2001 (reprinting an editorial from Khao Sod). .
 Gays praise plan, Bangkok Post, April 12, 2001.
 This is also called Soi Praduchai and sometimes Soi Twilight, after the oldest of the gay host bars.
 Bernard Trink confirmed this pattern: "The vast majority [of restaurants and watering holes] don't have a license, but are permitted to open while their applications are being considered. The actual cost of a license is negligible, but as official policy is not to grant them, baksheesh enters the equation." Immorality beckons, Bangkok Post, Friday, August 24, 2001, 5.
 The established pattern for closing hours was last-call at 12:30 on weekdays and 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
 Natee, Vichitsorasatra. Online crackdown nets 3, The Nation, August 4, 2001,7A.
 Police chief of Patpong transferred, Bangkok Post, Monday, August 13, 2001,2.
 Poona Antaseeda, Killjoy clampdown sends nightlife reeling, Bangkok Post, Sunday, August 26, 2001, Perspective, 1. DJ Station is not identified in the article as a gay venue.
 Minister vows to crack whip, The Nation, Saturday, August 25, 2001, 1.
 Poona Antaseeda, Killjoy clampdown sends nightlife reeling, Bangkok Post, Sunday, August 26, 2001, Perspective, 1.
 Police officers sent packing, The Nation, Tuesday, August 28th, 2001, 3A; Anucha Charoenpo, Policeman shifted for dereliction, Bangkok Post, Tuesday, August 28, 2001, 2..
 Crackdown on bars 'will hurt tourism', The Nation, Sunday, August 26, 2001, 2A. Purachai responded by saying that tourists came to see natural beauty. "They don't want to see exotic dancers or take drugs. The nightlife is secondary." Temsak Traisopon, Purachai claims early closing is for 'good of society', Bangkok Post, Tuesday, August 28, 2001, 1.
 Bussarin Lertchavalitkul, Purachai takes heat for crusade, The Nation, Wednesday, August 29, 2001, 2A.
 Public backs blitz: poll, The Nation, Monday, August 27, 2001, 2A.
 Wanlop hails nightspot zoning, Bangkok Post, Wednesday, August 29, 2001, 3.
last revised Saturday, 15 February 2003