Death penalties doled out for selfie-taking tourists

For some, this is a dream come true – death penalties doled out for tourists taking selfies.

Death penalties doled out for selfie-taking tourists

For some, this is a dream come true – death penalties doled out for tourists taking selfies.

That’s exactly what the Thai Government is proposing for photographers on Phuket’s longest beach – Mai Khao Beach in the Sirinat National Park.

Crowds gather at this tourism hotspot to watch low-flying planes landing at nearby Phuket International Airport (HKT). Many tourists can’t resist the opportunity to take selfies while the planes fly at heights that feel close to being within arm’s reach.

The practice has become so popular – and so distracting to pilots – that Phuket airport officials have told tourists to stop taking photos or face the death penalty.

“We are setting up a safety zone which will be categorised as a strictly prohibited area that does not allow people and tourists to take pictures,” said Phuket airport’s deputy general manager Vijit Keawsaitiam.

Photos taken in this zone will be treated as a violation of the Air Aviation Act of 1978, in which the death sentence is the maximum penalty.

Airport officials suggest that taking selfies at this spot can be as distracting as pointing laser pens at pilots or flying drones close to planes and, if the worst were to happen, hundreds of passengers could be at risk of death themselves.

While not all selfie-takers will get the maximum penalty, many can expect ‘more lenient’ punishments of 40,000 baht ($1,254.70) fines or 20-year jail sentences.

Is that Instagrammable moment worth the risk? You can bet many will still think so. But Thailand is not a country with which to gamble when it comes to harsh penalties for tourists.

Many may know of Thailand’s harsh drug laws, but just as many may not know that Thai authorities also often wave a big stick at tourists for non-drug related offences, then let them off lightly.

According to Fodor’s, in 2017, a pair of Instagrammers bared their bums on camera in front of a sacred site and were charged with ‘religious insults’, which carry a jail sentence of seven years. They were eventually let off with a fine.

In 2007, a Swiss graffiti artist sprayed over posters of Thailand’s late king, King Bhumibol Adulyadej and was sentenced to 75 years in prison. However, the artist was pardoned by the King one month after being convicted.

Photographs will not be totally off-limits at Mai Khao Beach. Tourists can still snap away from positions outside the restricted area.

Do you think death penalties are fair for selfie-taking tourists?

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    COMMENTS

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    Couldabeen
    11th May 2019
    10:04am
    This is absolutely stupid on the part of the Thai authorities. When a pilot is on short, short final for landing, anything that is below their glide path is of no interest to them. It is probably a bit of Asian pride in it is a crowd situation that they cannot control.
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:18am
    A fair bit of sabre rattling ans BS here. The Thai government would never do this as the tourism industry would stop dead in its tracks.
    If it were serious the Thai government would fence off the end of the runway from the beach. Problem solved.

    11th May 2019
    12:27pm
    what a good idea,,we could shoot all the Chinese selfie tourists who block what was the beautiful city of cairns ,we now call it Gold Coast 2

    11th May 2019
    12:27pm
    what a good idea,,we could shoot all the Chinese selfie tourists who block what was the beautiful city of cairns ,we now call it Gold Coast 2
    JAID
    11th May 2019
    1:09pm
    The penalty is simply the maximum available for crimes involving aircraft disturbance as the writer says. What would you say for example if you chose to use a strong flash for back lighting, this temporarily blinded the pilot and all 560 people on board were killed. I wouldn't put you to death but not many would be happy if you are let off by just claiming innocence.

    Thai authorities are simply saying that there can be awful consequence and you need to act responsibly. There is no need to ramp Thailand up into some god-awful place inordinately full of serious risk, it is the opposite.
    Yvonne
    12th May 2019
    9:27am
    Simply obey the rules of the country; any country. Problem solved!!!
    HDRider
    12th May 2019
    2:20pm
    Their country their laws, poverty or suffer. So sad we haven't got pollies with balls to make laws here that matter to us!
    Dermot
    19th May 2019
    1:13am
    Why do people ignore rules/regulations, and carry on regardless. These egocentric nutters deserve any treatment they get - Darwins law!!!


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