Thai police imposes Valentine's Day curfew for kids

With the festival of love nearly upon us, police are asking for parental cooperation in not letting those under the age of 18 wander outside after 10pm on Valentine's Day.

Royal Thai Police spokesman Maj-General Piya Uthayo yesterday said the national police chief was worried about youths acting inappropriately, taking drugs or engaging in other forms of vice on the day, hence police would be dispatched to patrol public parks, theatres, karaoke bars, night venues, dormitories, apartments and hotels.

In particular, they ask for parents to keep their youths at home after 10pm on February 14.

If police find anyone under 18 outside after this time, they will be brought to police stations for their parents to pick them up, he added.

Intending also to ask night-entertainment venues not to allow the under-aged to enter their premises, with the concomittant risk that they could engage in sexual activity, police will ensure the venues do not stay open later than what the law allows, or else they could face temporary closure, Piya said.

Police will also punish shops that sell alcohol to under-aged persons, and will set up checkpoints to stop drunk and/or reckless riders.

Moreover, they will seek the public's cooperation, especially women, who are asked not to wear racy clothes or high-value ornaments, which could put them at risk because criminals will take advantage of large crowds on the day.

Meanwhile, Wat Pa Salawan in Nakhon Ratchasima's Muang district is inviting 1,000 couples to pray overnight on Tuesday.

Deputy abbot Phra Maha Jirawat Jirawattano said the temple was trying to turn the occasion away from one of notoriety, with teenagers having sex and spending superfluously, by promoting moral values and merit-making instead.

Prayers, mediation, love-related sermons and a discussion will be held from 6pm to 1.30am. For details and to reserve a place, call (044) 277255.

Muang Nakhon Ratchasima district and The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima will also host a Valentine's Day celebration by having 55 couples register their marriages, with each couple receiving Bt200,000 in life insurance and a pair of kissing fish.

Chon Buri's Sattahip district chief Chaicharn Eiamcharoen has invited Thai and foreign couples to register their marriages on the back of an elephant in the beautiful gardens of Suan Nong Nuch Pattaya. One hundred couples are expected to attend this annual activity, which will involve Suan Nong Nuch's 42 elephants.

Meanwhile, the price of Valentine's Day's symbolic flower, the rose, faces a hike to Bt25-Bt30 per Grade-A long-stemmed flower, while general rose prices have increased from Bt1 to Bt5 per stem, said Chiang Mai Rose Growers' Group chairman Uthit Anuwat.

In Ranong's Muang district, vendors have seen prices soar from Bt1-Bt2 to Bt7-Bt8 for small roses, and from Bt6-Bt7 to Bt15-Bt18 for big roses.Reports of a shortage due to high demand for event decoration and Valentine gifts resulted in the district's vendors ordering roses early this month and keeping them in a freezer room or icy water.