Department of Marine and Coastal Resources/ The Phuket News
A tourist who allegedly fed breadcrumbs to fish at an ecologically-sensitive coral reef in Thailand faces a hefty fine or even jail time.
Olga Smirnova was spotted by authorities patrolling Plub Pla Bay on February 19 in the popular tourist resort of Phuket, and was later arrested.
The 53-year-old Russian tourist is due to appear in court on the charge of violating the island’s strict environmental laws, The Phuket News reported.
Officers from the Phuket Department of Marine and Coastal Resources reportedly told Smirnova through a translator that feeding fish was illegal and pointed to posters outlining the law.
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“We are taking a very strict stance on this. She has to pay the bail and remain in Thailand until her case is processed by a court,” a spokesman for the department said, according to the Mail Online.
Smirnova, however, reportedly could not afford the bail and is being held at Chalong Police Station.
The maximum punishment is one year in jail and a fine of up to 100,000 Baht (NZ$3980).