Connect with us


Expats arrested after posing for selfies while handling protected sea creatures

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Nation Thailand

A Dutch man and a Hungarian national are in custody after picking up protected sea creatures while diving off Koh Pha Ngan in the southern province of Surat Thani. Nation Thailand reports that the Hungarian man, named as Attila Ott, is a scuba diving instructor, who owns the Pink Panther Scuba Dive Club on the island. The Dutch man has been named as Francesco Simonetti, who works as a chef at the island’s Il Barracuda restaurant.

Expats arrested after posing for selfies while handling protected sea creatures | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The arrests came after both men posted selfies and videos on the internet that showed them handling the sea creatures, provoking outrage among social media users. It’s understood both men have now admitted the offences, which took place at the Salad Beach area of Koh Pha Ngan, according to Sophon Thongdee of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

“We tracked down the suspects and identified them as Attila Ott, a Hungarian national, and Francesco Simonetti, from the Netherlands. Salad Beach is a protected area, which makes their actions punishable by a maximum fine of 100,000 baht or one-year imprisonment, or both.”

The pair have also been slapped with fines for immigration offences: Simonetti for not notifying a change of address within 24 hours, and Ott’s wife for failing to inform officials within 24 hours that she had a foreigner staying at her property.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.



  1. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Why not give them the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves by doing a course and becoming marine rangers and do a spot of litter picking on the beach to make amends? They may not have realized what they were doing was harmful.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 12:04 am

      This is a constructive idea. I like it.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    They only handled them. They did not take them out of the sea or harm them.
    Yet the Thais authorities jump on them with glee with Thai Bahts in their eyes.
    Pickings are meagre, and these are felangs, good for a big payday.
    Would a Thai even been arrested – I doubt it.

    • Avatar

      John Smith

      Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      Killing a policeman driving at 177kms/h and on cocain is obviously OK!!!

    • Avatar

      Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 10:35 am

      Don’t mess with Thai life when you are a foreigner. Give them the max.

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    I’m against unwarranted shaming.

  4. Avatar


    Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    While at the same time motorbike dealers are allowed to sell dangerous motorbikes which kill 20,000 human beings a year in Thailand, you just have to laugh at the tree huggers and backward logic.

    Maybe the protected sea creatures who had their picture taken have died of shame as they were photographed naked for the world to see, whaaaaaaa.

  5. Avatar


    Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    OMG! They picked up a sea slug and took it’s pic possibly causing flash blindness to the poor creature. Massive fines, deportation, blacklist for them both.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Drugs1 hour ago

Record drug bust in Laos follows pandemic’s methamphetamine boom

World2 hours ago

Alec Baldwin could face criminal charges for shooting on set

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No more Lisa for new years, Abduction linked to Reused gloves | Oct. 28

Sponsored1 day ago

Top 5 dental clinics by Dental Corporations PLC in Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Transport3 hours ago

Bangkok public transport back to normal capacity on Monday

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand’s Industry Ministry is backing hemp as a new cash crop

Economy3 hours ago

Reform urged for foreigners to invest or buy condos in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Drugs4 hours ago

55 million meth pills seized in Laos in biggest SE Asian bust ever

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: 9,658 new cases; provincial totals

Phuket5 hours ago

BlackPink’s Lisa says “no” to Phuket New Year countdown event

Bangkok5 hours ago

Khao San Road expects very slow recovery, even after reopening

Thailand6 hours ago

Truckers and tour bus drivers plan strike over diesel prices

Malaysia6 hours ago

World’s first unisex condom invented by Malaysian gynaecologist

Thailand6 hours ago

Floating stage, 2nd hand medical gloves, Thai superstar Lisa, Crack ups | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 48

Property6 hours ago

Covid-19 has accelerated Thailand’s property market disruption by 5 to 10 years

Thailand6 hours ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to outline Thailand’s path to net zero at UN Climate Change Conference

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11