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Thais, Chinese arrested for removing marine life from Phuket coral reefs

The Phuket office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) has reported the arrests of two Thais and a Chinese tourist for fishing and removing marine life from a protected coral reef in two separate incidents yesterday (Aug 23).

Nares Chuphueng fisheries specialist together with officials from the DMCR Phuket office arrested

Jamrus Somboon and Passawat Ngernhorm, both from Phuket, off the southern tip of Cape Panwa, off Phuket’s east coast, at 3:40pm.

Officials seized the speedboat ‘Ussama Travel’, two fishing lines, five kilograms of live fish and squid.

The two men were taken to Wichit Police Station to face charges of illegally removing marine life from near a coral reef.

At 5pm at Racha Yai Island, about 25 kilometres south of Phuket, DMCR officials arrested Chinese national Dong Jinliang, 45, from Zhejiang, after he was caught using a rock to break a giant clam off the rocks at Ao Teu beach.

Dong was taken to Chalong Police Station and charged with removing marine life near a coral reef.

In January, Suchat Rattanarueangsri, Director of the Phuket-based office of the DMCR, together with other officials posted notices at Racha Island’s Batok, Siam and Teu bays warning tourists and locals of tough new penalties for breaking marine conservation laws.

The signs posted are in three languages – Thai, Chinese and English – and clearly state that “Marine life (including corals and carcasses) are not allow to taken and marine animals are not to be fed.”

“If any person breaks these regulations they will face legal action and be punished with not more than one year in jail and fined not more than B100,000,” Mr Suchat said. (See story here.)

Those warnings were put to the test when Chinese tourist Huang Yongjia, 35, was charged and fined B100,000 after he was caught with two baby Parrotfish in a plastic bottle at Racha Yai. (See story here.)

Officials tried the same with 53-year-old Russian tourist Olga Smirnova, but as she did not have the B100,000, she spent two nights in police lockup while awaiting trial for feeding bread to fish at Racha Yai Island. (See story here.)

The Phuket News

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