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Laughing gas balloon vendors in Bangkok face fines, prison

By KRISTEN BUTLER, UPI.com   |   Aug. 26, 2013 at 10:19 AM   |   Comments

Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Tourists in Bangkok's backpacker district may not be able to buy laughing gas balloons as easily as they used to amid a police crackdown.

Each balloon sells for around 130 baht, or $4.

Authorities say the trend began on popular beaches Koh Samui and Pattaya, as well as Koh Pagnan, an island known for drug-fueled all-night parties.

Police noticed a rise in the trend's popularity in just the last few weeks on the streets of Bangkok, and hope to thwart the sale of laughing gas balloons in the capital city before it spreads.

So far, eight vendors have been arrested for selling the nitrous oxide-filled balloons, all along Khao San Road, which is filled with restaurants, bars, hotels and tourists.

According to police, those arrested face up to five years in prison and a $300 fine on a charge of selling medicine without authorization.

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