Proposal of Huge Fines for Posting Alcohol Pictures Online

The Standard reported Thursday that Thailand’s strict Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, B.E. 2551, would be renewed.

With the new changes, people could be fined 500,000 baht for posting a picture of any alcoholic beverage, including wine and beer. Moreover, the authority that brings the prosecution could keep with 60-80% of the fine as an incentive to encourage law enforcement.

Since 2008, the government has imposed strict laws on alcohol, especially in its advertising.

Although the strict rules have affected the regular citizen, they have mainly hit the industry’s small operators and companies. Currently, individuals can be fined 50,000 baht for advertising or promoting alcoholic beverages online.

But the authorities’ draft amendment proposes increasing the fine to half a million baht.

People in the industry, who can currently be fined up to 500,000 baht, would have to pay a million baht if they violate the current Alcohol Control Act. Additionally, they could face daily fines if continued violations are reported and could be subject to warrantless asset seizures.

Authorities could also introduce new orders or regulations without public consultation or referendum.

Likewise, a new proposal seeks to end a legal loophole that allows large companies to promote their alcoholic products indirectly. If approved, large producers and marketers would not be able to promote their products by referring to soft drinks rather than beers and would not be able to place alcohol brand logos on other beverages’ bottles.

According to ASEAN Now, that practice has been carried out by companies such as Bood Rawd (Singha) and Leo, who advertise water and soft drinks during sporting events.

However, using the soda or “naam” logo would be illegal under the updated law, and violators could be subject to fines by association. The new ruling with more severe penalties also gives authorities permission to raid restaurants, bars or businesses over the sale, promotion or consumption of alcohol without court orders.

Public comments are being collected until July 9, The Standard said.

People who want to leave their opinion have to visit and fill out the form. The Standard also stated that a “people’s section” seeks opinions on the ban on alcohol’s sale in stores between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., online advertising and discounts, and the issue of state employees taking fine cuts.