Backpackers arrested after ‘breaking Covid-19 ban with secret raves on Thai Full Moon Party island’

Dozens of backpackers were arrested after allegedly breaking a Covid-19 ban with secret raves on Thailand’s Full Moon Party island. The drunken party – where more than 30 foreigners allegedly gathered – was hidden inside a wellness spa with a sauna in Koh Phangan island, Thailand on July 7. Undercover police said they discovered the party as they patrolled the area for businesses that were breaking the health guidelines. Officers called for backup and raided the sauna where three foreigners – Russians Sergey Zubkov, 54, and Anton Kravchenko, 34, as well as American Elizabeth Gotwald, 34 – were arrested for allegedly organising the party. Koh Phangan Police Station officer Poonsak Sophon Pathumrak said: ‘There were several foreigners inside the sauna partying and drinking, therefore, breaking the Covid-19 ban. ‘We have detained the three foreigners who were allegedly behind the party and checking with the immigration police about the status of their stay in the country. ‘We need to make sure that the establishments in the island follow the rules to prevent the spread of the virus, especially the Thai Full Moon party, which happens around this time.’ Officer Poonsak added that the foreigners reportedly ran the sauna but they arrived as tourists on backpacking trips and did not have the necessary work permits while some of them were believed to be overstaying their visas. He said: ‘We will verify details with the immigration police but it seemed that they are operating the sauna illegally and have overstayed their tourist visas.’ The Thai Full Moon Party is an all-night beach party on the island of Ko Phangan. The party takes place on the night of, before, or after every full moon that is usually attended by tourists.

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