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international news _ JONTY SKRUFFF _ 6th September, 2005

Thailand's Full Moon Parties Under Threat

Thai government plans to outlaw Koh Phangan's infamous Full Moon parties are being resisted by local bar owners and politicians, who claimed this week that the raves bring tourists and revenues to the island and the whole of Thailand.

"It's not right to cite illicit drugs, town planning and environmental problems as reasons to discontinue the party. Locals are more environmentally minded than some ministers, " regional councillor Piphit Rattanarak told the Bangkok Post, "If there really was anything bad about it, locals would not have let the party go on for so long,'' he added.

Skrufff's man-in-Bangkok Bee agreed, suggesting the closure would be 'another nail in the coffin for Thai Tourism; if it's not shut already.'

"And once again Thai's at the grassroots level would be out of pocket," Bee added, "everybody from tour operators to noodle sellers."

The Futon keyboardist said that few Bangkok clubbers nowadays visit Koh Phangan or its sister island Samui, pointing out 'they haven't been thought of as hip since the mid 90s.'

"The scene on the Southern Islands isn't really representative of the Thai scene, the islands are mainly frequented by tourists and Thais who've moved there to work and live," said Bee, "The only exception is the Geko Bar in Samui."

The threat to Thailand's best known rave parties emerged as police in neighbouring Indonesia stepped up their campaign against drug users, carrying out more random drug tests on revellers, who'll face years in jail if the tests are positive.

Indonesia's escalating anti drug campaign followed the recent 20 year sentence given to Schapelle Corby for smuggling pot into the country and the jailing of Australian lingerie model Michelle Leslie, who's currently locked up after being busted for possessing two ecstasy pills.

Ms Leslie was caught in a random roadblock outside a Bali party two weeks ago, and faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted of possession. According to media reports, the one time Adelaide 'door bitch' (guest list person) has taken to wearing full Muslim headdress since being detained after being terrorised by inmates and guards jealous of her beauty.

"They gawk and the guards gawk and want to touch her," her lawyer Mr Malcahy told Fox News. (Jonty Skrufff)