POLICE in Thailand on Wednesday said they arrested three bar hostesses for promoting alcohol during a livestream on Facebook.
The models, who were promoting the alcoholic beverages in Saraburi province, face a fine of up to THB500,000 (US$15,000), Khaosod English reported.
The arrests on Monday came in wake of a controversial act prohibiting people from encouraging others to drink with authorities recently vowing to clamp down on those who flouted he law by promoting alcohol on social media.
“Yes, this is part of the new policy, after deputy police commissioner Suwira [Songmetta] gave us the directives,” Saraburi police commander Chairat Thipchan was quoted as saying.
“In my jurisdiction, we saw the video, and it was a clear violation of the law, so we took action.”
The three models – Janjira Jansakha, Nanthida Punyamanote and Nantarika Pueakkliang, whose ages were not revealed – are known as “cheer beer ladies,” women employed to advertise alcohol brands at venues and events, according to Khaosod.
Chairat said police came across the Facebook Live video featuring the models in a bar called Bar Cony.
While the clip mostly comprised the women chattering and teasing viewers, one of the models was seen announcing a “buy one, get one free” promotion.
“You can come and get us drunk. We want to get drunk!” said one of the models. “Hurry up and get here!”
Chairat said offering discounts and other forms of promotions for alcohol contravened the 2008 alcohol law which bans “encouraging others to drink”.
“We are expanding the investigation to find out whether the bar owner … is also guilty,” Chairat said “But it’s clear the suspects are guilty.”
Shocked by police’s legal action against the three staff members in the video, Bar Cony owner said she would help pay the fines for the three women if they were found guilty.
“At first, police told me they would just give us a warning, but when I saw the news, it was way bigger than I understood,” said the owner, who declined to be named.
Last month, authorities in Thailand issued a stern warning against people promoting alcohol, saying they would monitor such activities on social media.
Following the announcement, several celebrity actors and singers were charged for posing with alcoholic drinks in photographs posted on their social media accounts.
Chairat said police would continue the crackdown.
“I believe every business operator knows what’s right and wrong. When they applied for permits, the Excise Department already told them about advertising laws,” Chairat said. “Yet they kept looking for loopholes.”