Wednesday, July 17, 2019

No laughing matter

Jul 12. 2019
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By The Nation

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Police and officials from the Office of the Food and Drug Administration arrested nine Thais late Thursday night for selling balloons filled with laughing gas to foreign tourists on Bangkok’s Khao San Road. 

Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner Pol Maj Gen Sukhon Prommayon and FDA secretary general Tharet Krutnaiyawong held a press conference at the Chana Songkram police station at 12,30am Friday to announce the arrest.

Sukhon said the children and women welfare division of the Metropolitan Bureau had been tipped off about several vendors selling nitrous oxide in balloons to foreign tourists visiting pubs on Khao San road. The bureau and FDA officials organized a raid and found nine men selling the laughing gas. They were arrested and taken to the police station to face charges of selling A controlled drug without permission.

Tharet said the use of nitrous oxide is permitted as an anaesthetic to render patients unconscious before surgery and for dental extractions as it is quick acting and reduces pain. Vehicle manufacturers also use the gas to fill airbags. 

But the gas is also often sold at various entertainment places to induce euphoria and a state of total relaxation. Side effects include nausea and loss of consciousness.

The FDA secretary general said sellers of laughing gas will be charged with selling a controlled drug without permission, a crime that carries a maximum fine of Bt10,000 and a maximum jail term of five years.

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