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Chinese tourists face jail term after selfie with starfish goes viral

Sanyang Qin and Wen Zhang were taken by a representative of the travel agency to meet investigators at the Chalong station, according to police.

Edited By: Hritika Mitra @MitraHritika Bangkok Published on: June 28, 2023 20:16 IST
Chinese tourists, Thailand, coral reef,
Image Source : REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE Chinese tourists face jail term after selfie with starfish goes viral

Two Chinese tourists were jailed in Thailand after a selfie of them holding a starfish went viral on social media, the Bangkok Post reported. The incident took place when images of them stepping on coral reefs and holding up starfish for selfies while on a diving excursion off Koh Racha Yai appeared.

Sanyang Qin and Wen Zhang were taken by a representative of the travel agency to meet investigators at the Chalong station, according to police. On Thursday, while they were diving at Ao La off Koh Racha Yai, three Chinese tourists were accused of holding up starfish and climbing on coral reefs to snap photographs.

After they posted their photographs and videos on social media on Friday, marine protection officials reported them to the police. An inquiry conducted by the Phuket Marine and Coastal Resource Conservation Centre revealed that the accused had actually committed the crime.

The two tourists admitted to wrongdoing when being questioned. They were accused by police of disobeying a ministerial directive for the preservation of marine resources on the islands of Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi. Police intend to bring them before the court after gathering evidence. 

The remaining tourist sought for the same offence is being sought out by authorities.In recent years, Thailand's authorities have become increasingly proactive in protecting its marine environment. From new rules and regulations aimed to protect its coral reefs and endangered marine species to shutting down entire islands to help their environs recover from mass tourism.

(With inputs from ANI)

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