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Tourist Faces 10 Years in Jail for Sitting on Coral Reef in Thailand

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On Sunday, Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources requested that police take action against a tourist who sat on an endangered coral reef while on a diving trip.

Mr. Wutthipong Wongin, a department official in charge of the eastern coasts coral reef, used a photo of Mr. Wisutr Rattanasathian that was posted on his Facebook account as evidence for his complaint.

Mr. Wisutr was pictured sitting underwater on the coral reef at Koh Khram Noi in the Sattahip district. Koh Khram Noi is an island in Bangkok Bay about 24 km southwest of Pattaya beach.

Mr. Wutthipong said he wanted the man charged for posing a danger to an endangered coral species as the reef in the picture was under protection under Thai law.

The tourist could receive a fine of up to 1 million baht (US$306,000) or serve up to ten years in prison if found guilty.

Police formally informed Mr. Wisutr, 45, of the charges later that day. Wisutr claimed he had never intended to damage the reef.

According to him, the photo was taken last year and posted on his Facebook profile on Saturday.

French Tourist dupes foreigners

Meanwhile, in Pattaya, Thailand a French tourist (Expat) was arrested for allegedly cheating other foreigners out of 6.3 million baht (US$1.6 million) in total.

A Pattaya Police spokesperson said they arrested Mr. Herve Christian Robert Leonard, 59, on seven warrants issued by the Pattaya Court.

He is accused of seven separate fraud cases

Seven foreigners in Chonburi filed complaints with police, accusing the Frenchman of cheating them of 6.3 million baht in total. The complainants said the Frenchman had duped them through the sale of big bikes.

He allegedly claimed that he could help them settle their legal cases because he had developed a close relationship with some police officers.

The French Embassy in Bangkok stated it also received similar complaints and helped coordinate the police action.

A police investigation led to the arrest of the Frenchman on Saturday. He has denied the accusations.

The police also discovered that the Frenchman had overstayed his visa by over a year. He was handed over to the Pattaya police station for legal proceedings.

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