Meeting: At a meeting with owners of more than 100 bars, discotheques, drayangs and karaokes yesterday, Chief of Police Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel urged the owners of entertainment businesses to abide by Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority’s (BICMA) regulations.

Business owners were asked to close their businesses on time and to not entertain minors.

As per a notification issued by BICMA, bars have to close by 10pm and discotheques by midnight.

“Alcohol is a reason for many violent acts, including domestic violence; it is a concern for a nation,” said Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said the meeting with the bar and club owners is a preventive measure to reduce crime in the city. He added that if the owners act in accordance with the regulations, police will not have to force the owners to follow the regulations. “When we are forced to close the business on time, it becomes harassment, and we don’t want that.”

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel also asked bar owners not to sell alcohol to minors. Some of the bar owners know that students are buying alcohol, yet the owners don’t bother to ask the age of the buyer. They also do not refuse to sell alcohol to students as long as they get money, he said. “Obtaining profit is important, but it should not be at the cost of somebody’s life.”

As some of the crime preventive measures, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel suggested frisking the customers before entering clubs, installing CCTV in and outside a club and sending bouncers to train with the Royal Bhutan Police in Thimphu.

The owners were also asked not to sell tobacco and controlled substances.

There are 627 bars, 26 karaokes, 13 drayangs and nine discotheques in Thimphu.

Dechen Tshomo