Thai tourist faces fine of up to one million baht for sitting underwater on a coral reef in Chonburi

Chonburi –

A Thai tourist, 45, was facing a fine of up to one million baht after posting a picture on social media of him appearing to be sitting underwater on a coral reef at Koh Khram Noi in the Sattahip district of Chonburi last Saturday, February 12th.

Wutthipong Wongin, Director of the Marine and Coastal Resources Office 2 (Eastern Region), filed a complaint at Sattahip Police Station yesterday, February 13th, against an online Facebook account owner who had posted the picture of himself sitting on the coral reef while snorkeling at Koh Khram Noi.

The act, according to the complainant, was violating Section 3, Section 12, and Section 39 of Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2562 for hunting or causing harm to wildlife that live independently. The penalty was imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine of up to one million baht or both.

According to the Director, the reef in the picture is a Porites Lutea under Scleractinia (Order) classification which is basically endangered species and was under the protection of Thai law.

PHOTO: Amphon Sangkaew

The Facebook account owner later presented himself at the police station to acknowledge the allegations. He reportedly confirmed to the officials that he was the person in the picture. He told them that he did not know that it was a coral reef he was sitting on as he thought it was a huge rock.

He said that the photo was taken about a year ago before it was posted yesterday which led to online comments and the prosecution. He also apologized for his action and said that he had no intention to harm the corals in any way but only wanted to take pictures with nature under the sea.

Related articles:

Thailand bans sunscreen with harmful chemicals for coral reefs in country’s national parks

Royal Thai Immigration confirms they will deport two foreigners accused of handling sea creatures near Koh Phangan


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Nop Meechukhun
National News Writer at The Pattaya News from September 2020 to October, 2022. Born and raised in Bangkok, Nop enjoys telling stories of her hometown through her words and pictures. Her educational experience in the United States and her passion for journalism have shaped her genuine interests in society, politics, education, culture, and art.