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(From Bangkok Post)
Cabinet ordered bars, clubs and other nightspots across the country to observe new closing times that would shut most of them down at midnight. The decision, part of the government's morals campaign aimed at curbing crime and drug problems, caused an uproar among night spot owners and workers at thousands of discos, karaoke halls, go-go bars and massage parlours. The directive comes into force on March 1.
All nightspots outside specified nightlife zones will have to shut at midnight, while there will be some exemptions inside the zones, of which Bangkok has three _ the Patpong area, Ratchadapisek road and the Royal City Avenue. Discos and hostess bars inside the zones will still be allowed to open until 2am, the current legal closing time for all establishments across the nation, while restaurants featuring musical performances will have until 1am before they have to close shop.
Predictably, nightspot owners were very vocal about the new early closing order and threatened protest action. Daeng Kessaro, chairman of the Entertainment Establishment Operators' Society in Phuket, said operators of more than 500 nightspots in the southern province would meet today to prepare protest action, which could spread nationwide. Most entertainment venues would be badly affected and could be bankrupt as night-goers mostly arrived at nightspots around 11pm which meant they could spend only 1-3 hours there, he said. Somchai Niewnaen, a coordinator of the Entertainment Business Operators' Society on Patong beach, said tourism in Patong …