By The Nation
The beer bar posted on its Facebook a picture of a BNK48 singer “Pun” and offered three different prizes:
If anyone turned up carrying a photo of Pun they’d get a 10 per cent discount on their drinks;
If they could dance like Pun to the popular song “Cookie Siang Tai” (“Koisuru Fortune Cookie”), they and all the guests at their table would get free beer throughout the night;
And, best of all: “If any girl looks like Pun BNK48, she can enjoy free draft beer at my place for life,” the advert continued.
An ongoing investigation by the Public Health Ministry has found that the singer was not paid for her appearance in the adverts and that she had only been singled out by the bar owner because she was his favourite.
“The bar owner has admitted that he posted the ads and does not personally know the singer,” Disease Control Department’s director-general Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai said on Friday.
Dr Nipon Chinanonwait, director of the Alcohol Control Committee Office, said he had already alerted police to the bar’s apparent violation of the ban on alcohol advertisements.
“If convicted, offenders face a jail term of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of Bt500,000,” he said.
The bar owner has since removed the advert after being warned by the authorities.
Last year, several entertainment figures were summonsed for allegedly helping to advertise alcohol firms. In Thailand, alcohol advertising is illegal.
After the bar’s advert gained media attention the agency responsible for BNK48 has quickly moved to distance the band from any involvement.
“Neither have we allowed it to use Pun’s picture,” the company announced.
It added that it would under no circumstances accept any alcohol advert to include the band and would allow any of the band’s singers to take part in any alcohol-related performances.
BNK48 has 28 girl members and its name is a short-form of Bangkok Forty Eight.
The Disease Control Department has already talked to the agency and expressed its appreciation for its stance against promoting alcohol consumption.