A 53-year-old female Russian tourist has been arrested after being caught giving bread to fish at Phuket’s Koh Racha Yai yesterday.
On Sunday afternoon, while officers from the Phuket Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) were carrying out routine checks for illegal activity around Plub Pla Bay, they came across a woman feeding bread to fish close to a coral reef.
The woman, identified as a Russian national Olga Smirnova, 53, was informed by a translator that her actions were illegal and that she had broken one of the island’s environmental rules.
The woman was shown a copy of posters placed across the island warning of the rules.
Smirnova was taken to Chalong Police Station where she is currently being held awaiting a court appearance.
Lt. Sakkarin Sangjaroen, of the Chalong Police, confirmed that Smirnova will be taken to Phuket Provincial Court tomorrow where she will learn her fate.
Any person found breaking these regulations can be punished with a sentence of not more than one year in jail and fined not more than THB100,000.
Officials from the Phuket DMCR placed signs in Koh Racha Yai’s three main bays on Jan. 26 warning tour guides and tourists of the consequences they will face if they are found to have broken any posted rules.
Marine and environmental officers in Phuket launched a series of countermeasures to prevent further damage by tourists and tour operators at Racha Island, south of Phuket.
On Jan. 25, a Chinese tourist was arrested for poaching parrotfish at Koh Racha Yai the previous day. He was fined THB100,000 for his actions.
Story: The Phuket News