Sakda Wichiansilp, deputy director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said yesterday (May 26) that the Chinese tourist was arrested on Wednesday (May 25) while feeding fish off Phuket and the tour guide was charged with supporting the act.
They were charged at the police station on Koh Yao district, Phang Nga, and released on bail of B100,000. They would be informed of a trial date later, he said.
“I would like to say that we are serious and are really making arrests. We have given enough warnings,” Mr Sakda said.
“Our officials said that the arrested tourist was frustrated by it and that the guide tried to settle the issue, but I told the officials that they must make an example so that no one else will dare to take such actions.”
But he advised that any legal action be carried out properly because the arrest of a foreign tourist could be sensitive to international relations.
Wacharin Thinklang, a director of marine and coastal resources in Phuket, said marine and coastal regulations prohibited the feeding of aquatic animals which were marine and coastal resources.
The offence is liable to a fine of up to B100,000 and/or a jail term of one year. He identified the arrested Chinese tourist as Zhou Hongzhi from Sichuan.
Marine officials have banned tourist activities at the coral reefs near three islands off Phuket’s east coast to prevent further damage to corals at the popular tour sites.
They have also ordered the removal of facilities and structures used for tourist activities from all three islands: Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui and Koh Khai Nai, all located a handful of kilometres from Phuket. (See story here.)
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