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Chinese tourists questioned for illegal spearfishing in protected area

Chinese tourists questioned for illegal spearfishing in protected area

PHUKET: Two Chinese tourists and their guide have been arrested for spearfishing at coral reefs off Nui Beach in Karon after a torrent of outrage online was brought to the attention of Yutthaphon Ankinandana, Advisor to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment.

marinenatural-resourcescrimeanimalsChinesetourism
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 9 April 2020, 10:45AM


The fish were protected species and they were hunted in protected waters. Photo: Courtesy of FaenKhawSeRithPhuket Facebook page

The fish were protected species and they were hunted in protected waters. Photo: Courtesy of FaenKhawSeRithPhuket Facebook page

The tourists, named as Mr Ning Peng and Mr Shang Hao, were taken to Karon Police Station yesterday (Apr 7), reports the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR).

The two were arrested after photos of the fish they had killed were posted online. The photos were reposted by the “FaenKhawSeRithPhuket” Facebook page, which showed that a guide had taken the two tourists to the beach.

Officers from DMCR Region 6 with assistance by Tourist Police tracked down the two tourists and the guide, who took the photos, and brought them in for questioning, the DMCR explained in a post on its own Facebook page. (See here.)

After that, the officers invited both tourists and the person who took the photo to send on the online page of Phuket to meet with the Karon police officers to investigate further.

Local Thai reports explained that Mr Yutthaphon, Advisor to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, was informed of the incident, and the he ordered the DMCR to take action immediately.

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The fish hunted were protected and the area where they were hunted is also protected, Mr Yutthaphon said.

The tourists and the guide are now under investigation for charges under Section 45 of the Environmental Promotion and Conservation Act B.E. 2535.

“Investigative officers will report the allegations for further legal proceedings,” the DMCR said in its post.

It was not made clear whether the three would face any charges for breach of the Emergency Decree for ignoring the ban on visiting any of the beaches in Phuket.

Mr Yutthaphon thanked the Facebook group for its help in assisting officers in performing their duties and help prevent further behaviours that destroy marine and coastal resources.

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Hermann1 | 09 April 2020 - 14:22:54

But I can see already how this happening will end. 500 baht fine and a wai from the Thai tour guide. Chinese tourists 100.000 baht, same like that Russian lady a few years ago. RTP pockets will be happy.Hehehe.

Capricornball | 09 April 2020 - 13:28:04

Have to agree with Mr. K on this...tourists should be fined the maximum allowed, and the Thai guide deserves even more, since there is no doubt he knew what he was doing, and showed complete disregard for Thai laws, and for being willing to sell out Thailand's protected natural resources for personal gain.  However, it is disappointing that it all gets turned over to the Karon police.

Kurt | 09 April 2020 - 11:49:59

And now full force of the law on them!  Double for the thai guide! Set a impressive example of 'full force'. Many laws of this moment breached.

 

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