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Phuket DMCR officials appeal for help in finding ‘coral sitting’ diver

PHUKET: Officers from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Phuket Office have appealed to the public for any information that will help them identify and locate the diver captured in a photo sitting on coral at Racha Yai Island over the weekend.

tourismChineseenvironmentmarinenatural-resourcescrime
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Wednesday 13 December 2017, 05:43PM


The Phuket DMCR officials are seeking any information that will help them track down the 'coral sitting' diver. Photo: Go Eco Phuket

The Phuket DMCR officials are seeking any information that will help them track down the 'coral sitting' diver. Photo: Go Eco Phuket

The diver in question was caught sitting on a coral reef at Bungalow Bay, Racha Yai Island,while taking a photo.

Local marine conservation group Go Eco Phuket posted a photo of the diver on its Facebook page on Sunday (Dec 10), saying the offender was a Chinese tourist.

The group also posted the message, “Underwater network has run out of patience after trying to contact government offices to suppress tour companies on marine tourism and marine conservation issues since October.” (See story here.)

After three days, the DMCR’s investigation into the diver responsible has hit a dead end as they have insufficient information, said DMCR’s Resources Management Division official Nares Choophueng at a meeting today (Dec 13).

“We started our investigation into the diver pictured sitting on and damaging coral on Monday (Dec 11). In the picture a diver is sitting on already unhealthy coral, but the evidence is not enough to find the person guilty,” he said.

Watcharin Thintalang, Director of the DMCR Phuket office, said, “I feel regret about this case. We want anyone who wants to help save marine life and the environment to please send any information to DMCR’s Facebook page [click here].

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“In the present investigation, the information we have is not enough to identify the man. Also, the source is not available to reveal more information,” he added.

“We need cooperation from tour operators to not allow any activities that will cause damage to coral. We need support from people. If the source provides a clip which shows this diver’s face, it would help us to identify and arrest him,” he said.

“We want either a face, name of the tour operator or the name of the boat. We will protect any sources,” Mr Watcharin assured.

“I give you my word, I will protect all sources. You can also contact DMCR’s Line Group through the number 089-6470353.

"There will be no intimidation against any volunteers who give information to us. I know that some volunteers at Go Eco Phuket have been intimidated. Let’s do this together,” he said.

 

 

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