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Koh Phangan: "Broken" foreign divers languishing in jail - expect deportation


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Koh Phangan: "Broken" foreign divers languishing in jail - expect deportation

 

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The two foreign divers who filmed themselves touching marine creatures and posted their experiences on Youtube are still in the police cells on Koh Phangan.

 

Hungarian Attila Ott told Thaivisa from his jail cell: "We are totally broken".

 

Despite having spent seven years in Thailand and having a Thai wife, Attila said he expected to be deported to Hungary. 

 

His friend Francesco is expected to be deported to Italy.

 

"My wife and so many friends bring in food," he said. "We are waiting for the trial. We will pay a lot"

 

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Picture: Thai PBS

 

Attila,44, told Thaivisa that he first came to the country 20 years ago and fell in love with the country, its culture and ocean.

 

He said that he and his friend were not criminals "just stupid". He said they had no prior convictions. 

 

The video had shown the pair handling creatures such as sea cucumbers. 

 

Attila said that he was not in a protected area though conceded that 60% of the waters around the island were protected. 

 

This was disputed by the authorities last week.

 

Following the YouTube post that they now regret, their case got the attention of a Kaset university environmentalist and of the environment minister who demanded action from the department of marine and coastal resources. 

 

This led to their arrest.

 

Attila who describes himself as a videographer on Facebook said: "I was born in a tub of water, not in a hospital, because my parents believed that people have to interact with nature on a higher level, it makes a stronger immune system for everyone and I will be closer to the balance of nature.

 

(My) whole life I picked up the garbage in the forest , on the beach and under the water. I wanna wake up the people with exciting videos to stop polluting the nature. If they hug a tree, smell a flower, play with a crab on beach or swim and play with a sea cucumber, it helps to protect nature in their life in the future".

 

Last week, Thai Immigration said that both men had been granted permission to stay in Thailand due to the ‘visa amnesty’ afforded to foreigners left unable to travel due to COVID-19. However, that permission would be revoked following their arrests for diving and disturbing wildlife in protected waters. 

 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2020-09-09
 
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This whole thing is disgusting. Having been a diving instructor in Thailand with well over 300 dives in Thai waters I can tell you this is absolutely nothing and comparing it to what Thais do every day; from killing beautiful Trigger Fish who become to big and aggressive at dive sites dropping anchors and destroying coral beds, killing endangered animals with their nets often abandoned on coral or on the sea bed. Dugans, Turtles,  Dolphins and even Wale sharks killed either by accident or intentional.  This is like selling bread to tourists then throwing them in prison for feeding fish or picking up bleached seashells or dead coral then holding them till they have extorted hundreds of thousands from them and their families for their release. Yes great advertising within the dive community which is very small but connected internationally all around the world. A dive holiday in Thailand OMG you must be mad.

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37 minutes ago, Scot123 said:

This whole thing is disgusting. Having been a diving instructor in Thailand with well over 300 dives in Thai waters I can tell you this is absolutely nothing and comparing it to what Thais do every day; from killing beautiful Trigger Fish who become to big and aggressive at dive sites dropping anchors and destroying coral beds, killing endangered animals with their nets often abandoned on coral or on the sea bed. Dugans, Turtles,  Dolphins and even Wale sharks killed either by accident or intentional.  This is like selling bread to tourists then throwing them in prison for feeding fish or picking up bleached seashells or dead coral then holding them till they have extorted hundreds of thousands from them and their families for their release. Yes great advertising within the dive community which is very small but connected internationally all around the world. A dive holiday in Thailand OMG you must be mad.

You are so correct on everything, I have witnessed some of the things you mentioned myself on Koh Samui and Koh Chang !!!. The Thais drop there anchors anywhere it suites them, and let Chinese tourists just walk on frail coral !!!

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6 minutes ago, ukrules said:

Anyone who's considering moving to Thailand (living in Thailand / move to Thailand) in the future should read all about this.

I'm sure its all just a big "misunderstanding"  

(if it ever becomes big enough international news to embarrass Thai authorities)

 

47 minutes ago, Scot123 said:

This is like selling bread to tourists then throwing them in prison for feeding fish or picking up bleached seashells or dead coral then holding them till they have extorted hundreds of thousands from them and their families for their release

 

I remember the story of a Russian woman who got fined a lot for having a sea shell wind chime at her house.

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I will never again lift up a porcupine on the road to bring it to the other side, for fear of being jailed for it, or lift up a snail to show a kid, it is all sacred here, just not the pigs in the slaughterhouses. But would even be careful to stroke one of them here in Thailand. They can be slaughtered, but not stroked. 

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12 hours ago, rott said:

He's been here seven years but is on the tourist amnesty? 

I think because after arrest they revoked his visa/extension already, he is now here on amnesty.

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13 hours ago, rott said:

He's been here seven years but is on the tourist amnesty? 


He may be on a Marriage Extension or a Non-O Visa and thus can't do the "90 day" border run. As a result, he'd be on the "Amnesty" as is/was anyone else that would have had to leave the country in order to renew a Visa.

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Hard to takes sides on this one for me as this guy is not a tourist told by Thais to just jump in and go.  This guy has been here for many years, is a videographer and experienced diver so no real excuses / defense here.   He should have known the rules/laws and where he was.  Maybe not deportation (for him) but some sort of penalty is warranted for sure and to send a message to others.  

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Next time anybody wants to touch marine creatures, make sure you have somebody of the status of Red Bull boy or Premchai along to appear in all the pictures. Very little problem then, it seems. 😉

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26 minutes ago, mushroomdave said:

Hard to takes sides on this one for me as this guy is not a tourist told by Thais to just jump in and go.  This guy has been here for many years, is a videographer and experienced diver so no real excuses / defense here.   He should have known the rules/laws and where he was.  Maybe not deportation (for him) but some sort of penalty is warranted for sure and to send a message to others.  

Sorry what rules did he break? 

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Always double standards.The thai hate farangs.Farangs are there to be abused.Thailand is finished as a place to visit.I have not been back there for 5 years now and have no intention to ever go back.One time .i thought i was going to retire there.I asked many thai girls why everything has changed in thailand.There answer is ,thai have money now.Respect farang for what.Even the big surprise.At 6pm they used to stand for the KING.this stopped even before the king died.Because less are going now,The place is becomming dangerous.And farangs are the big target.You might think i have gone off the subject.But i have not.Its all about targeting the farang.There interest is in the chinese and pattaya is becomming little india.Everything thailand was once good for has long gone.

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28 minutes ago, yankee99 said:

Sorry what rules did he break? 

From the first link below:

 

"Both (these men) have given evidence to the Koh Phangan police and admitted they were the ones in the video at Salat Beach that was posted on YouTube. We have pressed charges according to the law because that is an environmentally protected area. 

 

"Touching wildlife there warrants a 100,000 baht fine or a year in jail or both".

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Bottom line to make it easy for you:  It's a protected area and they shouldn't have done what they did!

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1 hour ago, bodga said:

or stay  off  lieThailand

If you want to stay off Thailand completely why are you here stalking it like a crazed ex-boyfriend who says he hates his ex but can't stop stalking her? move on, don't cry.. 

 

 

 

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Quite simply as he said they are stupid. Wildlife is not a plaything to be mistreated in the pursuit of a photograph and they should suffer consequences. The fact that ignorant Thai also damage protected marine and other wildlife does not excuse their behaviour. This report is an attempt by the duo to encourage support for their cause and it is not surprising to see it is working amongst farangs who have little liking of Thai society, imperfect as it is. If they are deported so be it, they were not just stupid but actually contributed to encouraging further acts of vandalism by others. It is high time that those who put themselves into positions of power actually get off their fat backsides and do something meaningful to protect the natural world instead of kowtowing to their ultimate paymasters in big business & other elite interest groups.

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I guess I’m kind of both sides.... granted, I haven’t seen all the details and facts- so I don’t know exactly what did it didn’t happen... and to me, that’s a big part of the story...

 

That said, I agree that there IS a massive double-standard as to how a person who IS a citizen and a person who is NOT a citizen is treated when it forms to matters of law and punishment.... but.... while that imbalance may exhaust, that to me doesn’t them give these folks some kind of a “pass” as to accountability ... just because others have done it or worse, doesn’t then mean you may do as well.

 

Do I think deportation (and what I’d also guess would include some type of exclusion period as well) is the correct, fair or just punishment?  I think there’s a balance to be struck here... I acknowledge that as a non-citizen that persons “right” to remain does also usually come with a “good conduct” clause - and that would only apply to a non-citizen... so a non-citizen would have more at risk.. I think a monetary fine, some kind of wildlife-type restorative or rehabilitative justice event (like community service) plus a type of post-conviction warning as to conduct, would be fair.

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1 hour ago, teacherclaire said:

The times they are a changing........

No. Self righteous  farang squealing about how disgusting everything in Thailand is are the same as they’ve always been. 

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13 minutes ago, madmitch said:

In a country where bail for murder is common, this is absolutely disgusting. 

 

They were wrong but a small fine and a slap on the wrist is the correct punishment.

Yes indeed it is but of course it involves farangs so an example has to be made despite how ridiculous Thailand makes itself look. I wonder what would have happened if the incident involved two Thais ?

 

If i was a tourist looking for a good holiday destination Thailand would NOT be on my list, too many other welcoming destinations, after this virus is put to bed of course.

 

 

 

 

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These guys make a nice distraction from all the other horrible things the authorities choose to ignore. "Hey look, we found some 'bad' people. Look everyone, we are doing something, aren't we amazing at our jobs?".

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