Instagram influencers hit with death penalty threat over popular photo

Daniel Fowler
April 10, 2019

The Mai Khao beach near Phuket International Airport in Thailand is famous among tourists for taking unbelievable selfies with an aircraft in the background.

On Thursday, Phuket International Airport deputy chief Wichit Kaeothaithiam threatened to ban tourists from visiting the popular beach, citing pilots' safety concerns.

Schapelle Corby, who was released in 2017 after spending 12 years in jail in Bali for drug smuggling, just snapped a photo of herself and her boyfriend Ben Panangian there on Monday - and she is not alone.

Thai islanders have warned aviation authorities they could ruin tourism in the region if they use the death penalty to punish people for taking selfies near a local airport.

The flying of drones and use of flashlights and lasers have become a major issue for airports around the world, including thousands of lights being cancelled at London's Gatwick Airport past year after a drone was spotted.

Any behavior that causes disturbances to landing aircraft and endangers passengers faces severe punishment under the Air Navigation Act.

New York orders mandatory measles vaccinations, blasts misinformation fueling outbreak
For more information, New Yorkers can visit the Health Department's Measles page. Measles is easily preventable with the safe and effective MMR vaccine.

"People and tourists will not be allowed to enter this area to take photos", he told the Post.

"The maximum penalty is the death sentence", he told the Post.

But airport chiefs announced last week that people taking selfies could potentially cause an accident by distracting pilots, and that they meant to close a large chunk of the beach. "Tourism and safety must coexist".

Some locals however, believe the safety zone will impact tourism in the area. "If the beach is closed, we will have serious problems because many tourists simply will not come", Mr Winai said at the time.

"I want (Airports of Thailand, which operates Phuket International Airport) to look at us and support locals in making (a) living here, too".

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER