A South Korean Actress Is In Trouble For Catching Endangered Clams In Thailand
A South Korean actress is facing up to five years in prison for catching endangered clams during the filming of a reality TV show
According to NST Online, Lee Yeol-eum was filming in April for a popular South Korean reality TV show, "Law of The Jungle" at a marine park in the southern Thai province of Trang.
During the filming of the episode, the Korean TV star had caught two giant clams from the corals to which she excitedly rose above the water and yelled, "I caught it!"
Participants in the show were even seen eating the clams when the episode aired on 30 June.
The chief of Hat Mai National Park, Narong Kongeiad said that the incident was brought to authorities' attention after a picture of Lee picking up the clams started circulating online.
The clams the 23-year-old actress had caught are listed as an endangered species and are protected under Thai law
Narong had filed two charges against the South Korean actress for violating the wildlife protection laws on Wednesday, 3 July.
According to NST Online, the actress could face five years’ imprisonment under the National Parks law, or four years if charged for breaking the Wildlife Protection law. Both laws carry fines of RM2,600.
"The one who must be responsible is the actress who caught the shellfish because she directly violated the law," said Narong adding that the others who were involved during the filming would also be charged as reported by SCMP.
On Friday, 5 July, the TV show's producer issued an apology over the incident, adding that they were not aware of the regulations and would be more careful in the future
According to Narong, however, the producers had been informed earlier of the marine park's regulations and is unable to withdraw the complaint from the police.
"Sea resources in Hat Chao Mai cannot be caught, hunted or cooked, and the cast and crew were fully aware of that because the park firmly informed them of the park's restrictions before they began filming," Narong said adding the police will look for Lee even if she is no longer in Thailand.
However, the case is now up to the prosecution to decide whether to proceed or drop the charges against the actress
The incident had sparked outrage among many netizens, calling out the producers of the reality show irresponsible and disrespectful to the environment.
"This is mainly why I never got into this show. I tried to watch a few episodes but I just felt like the whole concept was so environmentally irresponsible," said one Reddit user.
One user even bid his farewell to the reality show's future, adding that no artist would want to work with producers that get them into trouble while another user was upset as the endangered clams probably took a very long time to have grown into its giant size.