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Foreign divers face jail and 100K fines for underwater selfies they posted on YouTube

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Foreign divers face jail and 100K fines for underwater selfies they posted on YouTube



Picture: Thai PBS


Demands for the arrest of two foreign divers who videoed themselves touching sea creatures for fun off Koh Phangan in the south of Thailand came from the very top. 


Thai PBS reported that Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa demanded action and was pleased when he got it after information from environmentalists and locals led to the capture of the two foreigners.


One is a dive instructor who will have his permit to teach revoked. He is also a restaurant owner on Koh Phangan. The other is a chef who likes to take people out on diving trips in his speedboat. 


They face a year in jail or 100,000 baht fine or both after it was determined they were in a protected area. 


They also have been charged with violating 24 hour reporting of their whereabouts with the wife of one also in hot water. 


Thai PBS reported that the pair filmed themselves handling marine life for fun and prodded fish with a selfie stick to wake them up (as it was nighttime). 



Picture: Thai PBS


They faced a storm of criticism on social media including from leading environmentalist Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat of Kaset University who went on Facebook to condemn their actions. 


Some on the Thaivisa forum who claimed they were part of the diving community partly defended their actions saying they were handling common animals and dismissed Dr Thon's views about the inappropriateness of night diving. 


Sophon Thongdee, the chief of the department of marine and coastal resources, disagreed and said that two men had been arrested.


They are Mr Attila O. a diving instructor and Mr Francesco S. a chef, on Phangan who owns a speedboat and likes to take customers from his restaurant out on dive trips, notes Thai PBS.


Sophon spelled out the details of the case:


"Both (these men) have given evidence to the Koh Phangan police and admitted they were the ones in the video at Salat Beach that was posted on YouTube. We have pressed charges according to the law because that is an environmentally protected area. 


"Touching wildlife there warrants a 100,000 baht fine or a year in jail or both".


He also told the media that he had ordered local officials to look into their permits and other documentation. He said that a diving instructor permit would be revoked for "this unacceptable behavior". 


He also said that he had made representations to Wichawut Jinto,the governor of Surat Thani province that includes Phangan, to help press charges against the two men. 


Initially, Francesco had not reported his change of address within 24 hours and his wife Kristiyaporn would be fined for that. 


Attila in his capacity of being the owner of an establishment where people stay also faces charges for not reporting guests within 24 hours.


Source: Thai PBS



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27 minutes ago, Captain Monday said:

We used to throw them at tourist girls on the beach to make them scream.

A great conversation starter 

Yep, or a slap. 🙂 

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Fine them and lock 'em up... 😡

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