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Thai police reel in Russian tourist for feeding fish

February 20, 12:45 UTC+3 BANGKOK

The ban on catching exotic fish and even feeding fish in the protected areas has been in place in Thailand for several years

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© AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

BANGKOK, February 20. /TASS/. A Russian tourist has been arrested for violating Thailand’s environmental rules after she was caught feeding fish off the Phuket Island, the Phuket News reported on Monday.

Olga Smirnova, 53, was apprehended by police during routine checks on Sunday as she was feeding bread to fish near a coral reef. The authorities this may seriously hurt the local ecosystem. Under Thailand’s law, the woman faces a fine of up to $2,800 or a one-year jail term.

A court hearing will be held on Tuesday, the report said. The Russian has been taken to a police station in Chalong where she is currently awaiting trial.

"She has to pay the bail and remain in Thailand until her case is processed by a court," head of the marine and coastal resources conservation division, Suchat Rattanaruengsri, said.

Consular staff at the Russian embassy in Thailand told TASS that they had not been informed of the incident. Neither the woman, nor her relatives have sought any diplomatic assistance.

The ban on catching exotic fish and even feeding fish in the protected areas has been in place in Thailand for several years, but the authorities received powers to arrest violators only last May. Several Chinese citizens have been recently arrested and fined for similar charges.

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