December 5, 2022
BANGKOK – The 10-year-old boy who was captured on a clip smoking marijuana in Pattaya has been returned to the shelter from where he had escaped, local officials said on Friday.
The youngster, identified only as “M”, was filmed smoking cannabis with a bamboo bong on the beach in South Pattaya in Chonburi’s Bang Lamung district.
The clip, which was widely circulated on social media, drew much criticism against authorities.
The boy was found sleeping about 100 metres from where he had been filmed smoking and taken to Pattaya police station. He was then interrogated by police for over two hours in the presence of social workers.
An official from the Social Development and Human Security Ministry said on Friday the boy is an orphan and had escaped from the Bang Lamung youth shelter. The official claimed the boy had refused to say anything about why he was smoking and that police officers had only asked him about his life and well-being.
The boy was taken to Bang Lamung Hospital for a check-up before being returned to the shelter.
Meanwhile, Pattaya’s deputy mayor Wuthisak Rermkijakarn said on Friday that local authorities have successfully dealt with the issue of homelessness, though swift enforcement of the law is being avoided over human-rights concerns.
He said the homeless, especially youth, were sent to relevant agencies for vocational training, but many manage to escape.
“Pattaya City should review its policy and a meeting of relevant agencies will be called late this month to find a solution that seriously addresses this problem,” he said.