A beachfront resort in Koh Samui was forced to remove a giant decorative Buddha head from their beach after photos of it were posted to social media last week and went viral, inciting rage from Thai Buddhists, who said how disrespectful and inappropriate the holy statue decoration was in that location.
At island beach resorts, foreign tourists can often be seen in skimpy swimwear drinking alcohol and being boisterous or romantic.
The unnamed resort, on Laemson beach, was called out in the Facebook post, which demanded the business remove the head or face police action.
In the comments, Nattawut Kunchanasongkram wrote, “The people who placed the Buddha head there, are they even Thai?” while Somsong Sudabut said, “This has gone too far.”
Pothi Pakkitatham pointed out, “Thailand has a lot of Buddhists, but they don’t understand the true Buddhism. A Buddha head is regarded as highly as the heads of your mother and father. You can’t display it recklessly.”
True to their word, the original poster, Saiparn Saiparn, must have contacted the police, since they visited on Friday alongside cultural experts and military officials.
They examined the Buddha head and quickly decided that it was being used as decoration, not as a religious item. The police informed the resort that the statue was inappropriate and an insult to Buddhism.
Purely decorative use of Buddha images is illegal under Section 206 of Thai law, which relates to insulting or defaming religion, a crime that can carry a jail term of two to seven years and/or a fined of THB2,000-14,000 (US$63-US$442).
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