Diving Thailand
Photo: Pixabay
A Hungarian diving instructor and his Dutch companion were arrested in Bangkok due to a three-minute-long, innocent, self-made short film; as a result of which, the suspects might be relocated to one of Thailand’s most dreadful prisons.
The Hungarian-born Attila ran a diving club in Thailand that has been welcoming tourists to Ko Phangan – a fabulous island in the Gulf of Thailand – for two decades. Within the framework of his diving school, he made underwater photography and videos that later got him into trouble.
According to the diving instructor, one of his short films was copied from their YouTube channel by an unknown person and then sold to all TV companies.
However, Thai authorities immediately took action against the video creators because they were said to be engaging in illegal activities in a nature reserve, for which Attila was immediately arrested along with his business partner, Francesco Simonett.
As the Hungarian news portal Blikk reports,
the two men live in constant fear, waiting for their relocation from a local prison – that is considered friendly among Thai conditions – to the country’s most dreadful prison, IDC, where 80 people are crowded into one cell, including the most ruthless criminals.
“It is all about a three-minute, innocent self-made film. It is our sin to take photos with sea animals – sea cucumbers, starfish and sea urchins. We tried everything but in vain; they want to set an example with us” – commented desperately Attila, who also revealed that their trial will be held tomorrow, after which they will find out what will happen next.
“Salad Beach is a protected area, so it is forbidden to publish pictures and videos made here” – said Sophon Thongdee, CEO of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, adding that the state can sentence the perpetrators to a maximum fine of 100,000 bahts (~ EUR 2,700) or one-year imprisonment, or both. According to the news portal The Nation Thailand, the Hungarian-Dutch duo committed further sins, as they did not notify immigration officials that their address had changed, and employed another immigrant illegally, for which additional fine has been imposed on them.
The case is being monitored by the Embassy, who is in touch with the Hungarian suspect, for whom they are ready to provide all possible assistance.
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Source: blikk.hu; nationthailand.com

  1. Although different countries have different legal approaches to the matter, by and large making a film or photos available to the public by means of such platforms as youtube or instagram is considered to be having the work published. In this case, the publication of visual material taken in the Salad Beach area is prohibited, so it is the 2 plaintiffs who are guilty the publication offence. The subsequent use of these materials by TV companies is a breach of the plaintiffs copyright by the TV companies, although arguably it also a breach of copyright of the Salad Beach authorities. One would think that running a Diving Club business in that location, the plaintiffs would be aware of the rules and regulations and yet they still went ahead and broke the law.

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