Tourist who sat on endangered reef faces 10 years in prison, up to 1 million baht fine


A Thai tourist who posted a photograph of himself sitting on an endangered coral reef faces a fine of up to 1 million baht and a 10-year prison sentence. Wisutr Rattanasathian shared a photograph on his Facebook page on Saturday, which shows him sitting on the protected reef off Koh Khram Noi, in the Sattahip district of Trat province, eastern Thailand.

The photo prompted the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to file a police complaint the following day, according to a Bangkok Post report. Department official Wutthipong Wongin, who has responsibility for the eastern coast, used Wisutr’s photo as evidence to back up the official complaint. In the photo, Wisutr is pictured sitting on the coral reef, which is protected by Thai law.

According to the Bangkok Post report, Wutthipong says the tourist will be charged with posing a risk to an endangered species. If found guilty, he faces a fine of up to 1 million baht and/or a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The report goes on to state that the 45-year-old tourist has presented himself to police to be formally charged. He claims it was never his intention to damage the reef, saying the photo was taken last year and posted on social media on Saturday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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