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European Divers Threatened with Deportation After Manhandling Koh Phangan Sealife

Hungarian, Dutchman Arrested for Manhandling Sea Creatures Koh Phangan Thailand
Hungarian Attila Ott, right, and Italian Francesco Simonetti, sign police reports in Surat Thani.

Two European scuba divers who certainly knew better were threatened with deportation and fined heavily after handling and prodding marine life on a protected reef off Koh Phangan.

Hungarian Attila Ott, a 45-year-old dive instructor and owner of Pink Panther Scuba Dive Club and Bar, and 28-year-old Italian Francesco Simonetti, a chef at Il Barracuda Restaurant & BBQ, face fines of up to 100,000 baht and a year in jail for intruding on protected Salat Beach.

The two were tracked down after posting photos and videos of themselves on Facebook and YouTube showing them holding sea creatures and even poking some with a selfie stick.

Dive instructors are required to take numerous courses on environmental conservation and marine-life protection to be certified.

For good measure, immigration police slapped the pair with offenses related to the dreaded TM30 form. While enforcement of the rules for the form now has been scaled back, police took an exception in this case, hitting Simonetti with failing to file a TM30 for his change of address and Ott’s wife for failing to file a TM30 when the Italian

Surat Thani Immigration Pol. Lt. Col. Suparerk Phunkosol warned the two never to repeat their offenses or they would be deported.