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PHUKET: If what’s good for the capital is good for the country, then Phuket could soon have alcohol-free zones.

According to a report this afternoon by the government’s National News Bureau, Bangkok is tipped to have such zones throughout the city, in a move to “curb violence that often stems from binge drinking.”

But this is not a tsk-tsk ‘social engineering’ ploy of the type driven by the Culture Ministry under the Thaksin administration. No, this time it’s rather more down to earth than that.

The zones in which drinking will be banned are every public park, every government building, and every police station. That’s right, the police will no longer be allowed to drink in their stations, although enforcement could, at least in theory, render the new rule a paper tiger.

Readers will understand that there are from time to time a few laws which do elude enforcement here in Phuket, but perhaps such is not the case in our capital city.

Either way, it will be reassuring to know that the folks in the Finance Ministry are sober, no matter how depressing the economic news after the rise in minimum wages and the heartfelt gift of 800,000 tablet computers to school kids.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is slated to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Secretary for Public Health to ensure “enforcement” of the ban on crapulence by the cops – not only in their stations but in all other sobriety zones as well.

Selling, drinking and advertising alcohol will be prohibited in these zones.

The legal age to drink alcohol in Thailand is 20 years. Alcoholic drinks can only be sold in a shop or a club. Sales of alcohol nationwide are currently limited to two periods: from 1100 hrs to 1400, and from 1700 hrs to midnight.

However, enforcement of the alcohol purchasing hours in Phuket, at least, has been quite tippler friendly with nary a complaint heard.

Will the ‘no booze’ zones come to Phuket? We think they will.

Will they bring about any discernible behavioral change in the areas designated? We think not.