Tour guide and marine conservationist “Seaman Freeman, or Mr Kanchit Klingklip, 47, yesterday (July 28) posted in the “Healthy Reefs” LINE group video clips and photos showing a Korean man illegally feeding fish underwater at Batok Bay, Koh Racha Yai.
The man, nicknamed ‘Nam’ aged between 30-40 years, was with two women when the incident occurred, but it appears that he only led them out to the sea and that they did not partake in the fish feeding. Nam fed the fish alone.
Mr Kanchit reported to the LINE group that the man was suspected of being an illegal tour guide.
Mr Kanchit filmed the incident underwater, showing two Korean women with ‘Nam’ and many fish swimming around them.
As Mr Kanchit approached, it became apparent that the suspected illegal tour guide was feeding the fish with food stashed in the pockets of his diving suit.
Mr Kanchit continued filming from a boat as he forcefully removed them from the water, where he inspected ‘Nam’s pockets and found bread crumbs.
The Korean man apologised to Mr Kanchit, however, Mr Kanchit responded, “Don’t say sorry. Everyone told you already... No feeding here. The Thai people, they are also not feeding.”
“I watched their behaviour after receiving a tip-off from a dive operator that there were a number of people feeding fish to bring the fish closer to impress the tourists.
“I started recording as soon as I saw it happening, before I approached him. I know myself that the guide had released the fish food from his pockets to destroy evidence when he realised he had been caught. But when I searched him on the boat I found that he had fish food in various pockets of his suit,” said Mr Kanchit.
“We took him to meet an officer of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources Region 6 stationed at Racha Island to file a lawsuit, and it is expected that officials will prosecute him at Chalong Police Station in the afternoon,” he added.
Mr Kanchit said that ‘Nam’ initially went to Koh Racha with a Thai guide, but sat on the beach on before bringing the two women to dive in the water.
Relevant agencies must investigate further into whether the man is working illegally, said Mr Kanchit.
However, for feeding the fish, he will most likely be found guilty according to the order of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, No. 445/2559, dated May 19, 2016 prohibiting the feeding of fish and coral reef fish.
Offenders will be sentenced to one year's imprisonment, fined B100,000, or both.