Restaurant Pulled up by Authorities for Ad Featuring Women in Bikinis

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A restaurant in Vientiane Capital has been reprimanded by authorities for an advertisement featuring women in bikinis posing at a waterfall on its premises.

Dorkkhaithong, a restaurant operated alongside a hotel and café, recently received a summons from Sikhottabong Department of Information, Culture, and Tourism.

The owner of the restaurant stated that the concerned advertisement was made in 2020 for commercial purposes. In its letter to the restaurant, the district department claimed that the photos of women in bikinis violated the law and traditions of the country.

According to Laos’ Law on Cyber Crime, those who upload objectionable or obscene content on social media will face imprisonment or a fine of up to LAK 5,000,000 to 30,000,000 (USD 287- USD 1721).

A woman in one of the images, who is also the restaurant’s owner, has spoken out about moral policing and asked what would the authorities deem as appropriate swimwear for women. She also questioned how the appearance of a beauty contest competitor from Laos in a bikini could be appreciated and supported if it was against Lao traditions.

The photos have not been deleted from the restaurant’s Facebook page even after the insistence of the Sikhottabong Department of Information, Culture, and Tourism because the restaurant owners want the authorities to clarify why they have a problem with it.

Following the incident, the owner of the restaurant again posted a series of photos of beauty queens from Laos posing in bikinis and hilarious photos of dogs in swimsuits suggesting that the authorities shouldn’t discriminate between humans and animals while asking individuals to dress in a modest manner.