Roslan Benedia shared video last week of two parrots, three unidentified fish and an eel, all stabbing them in the head, on a boat in Hat Nofrat Thara-mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, fishing national parks in Thailand is illegal. , Benedia later deleted the video from his TikTok account, but ordered his arrest before Thai authorities saw it.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varavut Shilpa-Archa shared news of the arrest in a social media post on 15 August, reporting that a special operations team brought Benedia to Phuket for questioning.
According to Silpa-Archa, Benedia accepted to rent a Hua Tong boat from Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Leh Island, as well as renting a spear nearby. He claimed that he was unaware that the area was a national park.
Images shared online by Silpa-Archa show Benedia with officers inside a police station.
According to reports, the police is currently investigating and collecting evidence and will prosecute as per law. The minister confirmed that Benedia would face legal consequences from boat owners and javelin providers as well.
Last week, various officials raised their voices against the video, demanding Benedia’s arrest. Sophon Thongi, director general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said, “I have ordered the local authorities to quickly find the seafarer and the foreign tourist for punishment because this is a very serious issue.” Bangkok Post,
Benedia removed the initial video, but has since posted an apology videoWhere he apologized for his actions and claimed that he was unaware at the time that it was illegal.
“I just want to say that I am deeply sorry for what I did. I knew nothing about it and it was not my intention to catch those fish or even fish in such an area at all Where it is not allowed to fish,” he said.
Benedia said he usually checks the rules first spear fishing—something he does regularly while traveling the world. However he added that Thailand is “the first time I have felt so free and loved and welcomed” that it made him forget about the investigation.
He also claimed there was a miscommunication with the boat driver, who Benedia said spoke very little English and did not warn him against fishing in that area.
“I want to deeply apologize to the National Wildlife, the police, the citizens of Thailand whom I have hurt,” he said.
newsweek Roslan has reached out to Benedia, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, for comment.