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Johnnie Walker Classic may move

Drinks giant Diageo is continuing talks with the Thai government in a bid to prevent moving next year's Johnnie Walker Classic from Thailand.

Thai media had reported at the weekend that the $4.3 million co-sanctioned Asian and European Tour event would be switched from Phuket's Blue Canyon resort to South Korea after the Kingdom's new military-backed government banned alcohol advertising.

But Diageo, owners of the Johnnie Walker brand, insisted on Monday that no switch had been made.

"No decision has been taken to move the Johnnie Walker Classic from Thailand," a company spokesman said when contacted by Reuters.

"Diageo is in continuing discussions with the Thai authorities to resolve issues surrounding the recently announced restrictions on advertising."

The event is due to be held at the Blue Canyon resort from March 1-4.

Thailand will ban alcohol advertising in all forms of media from Dec. 5 in a bid to curb underage drinking.

Domestic alcohol consumption has tripled in the last 14 years, with some 19 million Thais -- nearly 30 percent of the population -- drinking regularly, according to official statistics.

The new interim government, in place following a military coup on Sept 19, has considered raising the minimum age for buying alcohol from 18 to 25.

October 24, 2006


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