The person believed to be the culprit, a Russian national, was identified via Facebook and Instagram posts that showcased photo evidence of identical handiwork to that which appeared at Nai Thon.
They also shared the same personalised tag name ‘dem51’ that appeared on the rock graffiti.
Chief of Sirinat National Park, Mr Natthawat Nuisriram, told The Phuket News today (Feb 28), “I was notified via a Facebook post that had gone viral which showed the graffiti painted on the rock at Nai Thon Beach.
“Also people sent photos and information to the Sirinat National Park email account directly,” he added.
“We immediately went to inspect the area and found the painted rock, which is about eight kilometers to the south of Nai Thon beach.”
‘I paint where I want’
Mr Natthawat explained he managed to identify the suspected individual although he was unwilling to disclose specific details at this point.
It appears, however, on further inspection of social media using the personalised tag name of ‘dem51’ that the individual in question is a Russian national street graffiti artist by the name of Dmitrii Bragin.
It also appears that the piece at Nai Thon is not the only one that was done by the suspect when he was in Phuket.
One Facebook video post from Feb 19th shows an identical image drawn on a tree with marker pen at Mai Khao beach. What appears to be the suspect’s son is witnessed with the marker pen also graffiting the tree.
His acts of vandalism drew scorn from many across social media where numerous exchanges with the suspect were witnessed.
When a user under the nickname @phuket_guide informed the suspect @dem51 on Instagram that he has been identified as the person responsible for the graffiti at Nai Thon, the reply was as follows:
“@phuket_guide In fact it’s very funny, don’t you think so yourself? These are just stones, who cares about them?”
Asked by another commentator to keep his street art graffiti in his own country and respect nature and the hospitality of any countries visited, the suspect ‘dem51’ replied:
“@oleg_morsov Mister, I paint where I want. Don’t tell me what to do”
Despite Mr Natthawat initially believing the culprit to still be in Phuket, it later transpired that he had left the island meaning it was impossible to question or charge him for his actions.
Chief Natthawat appealed to tourists not to consider replicating the act, stating it is illegal and destroys the natural habitat.
“Please do not paint, write, advertise or make any sort of signature piece on rocks like this. It is not pleasant. It is illegal. If anyone witnesses painting like this, please send information to us at:
https://www.facebook.com/sirinath.np or call 076- 328226 and 076- 328226
He concluded with a stern warning: “We are responsible for the protection and maintenance of the National Park and this kind of act of vandalism will be punishable with a fine not exceeding 500 baht.”