A combined force of military, police and administrative officials launched a crackdown against illegally-operating hostels on Ko Phangan in Surat Thani province late on Friday night (Oct 6).
The crackdown was prompted by complaints from residents that more than 150 hostels have been illegally opened on the resort island district. They are also accused of being used as places for drug users.
The first targets raided were the Cat in Space and Echo Beach Bar in Tambon Ban Tai. They were found to have been opened without a permit.
The authorities arrested Wasant Damchuay, the Echo Beach Bar manager, while he was selling balloons filled with nitrous oxide or laughing gas to tourists for 100 baht each.
He was charged additionally with selling medicine without permission.