An American tourist blasted a street in Thailand with marijuana smoke, according to Phuket Provincial Police.
The man, identified as Angkhan Vorac Chhieng by local police, apologized for causing damage to tourism image.
Chhieng told Insider he was not the one to fog the street and claimed that the machine did not have marijuana.
An American tourist filled up a fog machine with marijuana and blasted a street with smoke at a popular tourist destination in Thailand to promote his marijuana business back home, according to the Phuket Provincial Police.
The police outlined their accusations in a Facebook post on Monday. In the post, police said the man — who they identified as Angkhan Vorac Chhieng — used the fog machine along Bangla Walking Street in Potong Beach at 2:30 a.m. on August 18. The street in Patong — a beach resort town in Phuket — has been known for its nightlife for years, and has more recently become home to many cannabis dispensaries.
According to the police’s Facebook post written in Thai, Angkhan admitted that he had acted unknowingly to create content promoting marijuana that was sold abroad, and did not think it would be an inappropriate action.
In the Instagram post below, a man is shown walking around Patong blasting people with a device filled with marijuana. The device appears to be constructed specifically for marijuana, with an Instagram page describing it as “the kush cannon,” which refers to a type of cannabis.
Chhieng, 55, first traveled to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, on August 15, before traveling to Phuket, according to the police’s Facebook post. The police were alerted to the incident after a video on social media showed Chhieng using a fog machine filled with marijuana, per the post. The police used public surveillance footage to identify Chhieng.
The police later found that Chhieng was staying in a hotel in Bangla Walking Street, where they informed him that “such actions cannot be done in public,” according to the post.
Chhieng said he did not know it was inappropriate and apologized for causing damage to the tourism image of Phuket Province, according to the Police post. He departed Phuket on August 19, the police wrote in the post.
In an email to Insider on Thursday, Chhieng denied that he was the one who blasted fog on the street and said he was not in possession of a fog machine. He also said there “was never any marijuana in the fog machine.”
“We didn’t go all the way to Thailand to make an impact on the news. We love the people and the culture, I was born there, I just wanted to do something good together with other people in the cannabis community,” Chhieng said, adding that he was in Phuket to meet with potential partners.
In June last year, Thailand became the first country in Asia to legalize marijuana. Since then, dozens of cannabis dispensaries have set up shop at Bangla Walking Street.
But that doesn’t mean there are now laws surrounding the use of marijuana.
According to The Washington Post, smoking marijuana in public can be charged under Thailand’s public nuisance law and is punishable with a fine of $780 or three months in jail. Thai authorities have recently pushed to tighten regulations on marijuana, per Bloomberg.
The Phuket Provincial Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.
August 28, 2023: This story has been updated to include a response from Chhieng, who denies that he was the one to use the fog machine and says there was no marijuana in the fog machine.
Read the original article on Insider