BANGKOK – South Korean, actress Lee Yeol-eum has been charged for harvesting endangered giant clams and faces a possible four year prison term if found guilty, a national parks official said on Friday.
Miss Lee Yeol-eum of the South Korean TV Series “Law of the Jungle” illegally harvested three giant shellfish in Hat Chao Mai marine park in Trang Province in Southern Thailand.
Participants in the show then ate the clams in an episode that was filmed in March and aired on June 30.
Mr. Narong Kongeiad, chief of Hat Chao Mai National Park, said yesterday that he filed police charges against the “Law of the Jungle” star on Wednesday for violating wildlife laws by hunting the giant clams.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht (US$1,300).
“The one who must be responsible is the actress Miss Lee who caught the shellfish because she directly violated the law,” he said. “Others who were involved with the incident could also be charged as well.”
The Law of the Jungle has aired since 2011 and places South Korean celebrities in groups that are sent out to test their survival skills in remote locations.
Seoul Broadcasting System, the show’s producer, issued a statement Friday saying it “deeply apologized” for disrespecting park regulations, and said they would be more careful in the future.
However, Mr Narong said the producers had been informed of the regulations prior to filming.
“Sea resources in Hat Chao Mai cannot be caught, hunted or cooked, and the cast and crew of Law of the Jungle were fully aware as park officials informed them of the park’s restrictions prior to filming,” Narong said.
The incident has triggered an angry reaction among internet users, especially among South Koreans, who have called for the show to be cancelled.
The Hat Chao Mai National marine park is in the southern Thai province of Trang, 670 kilometers (420 miles) south of Bangkok.
The Associated Press