Americans held for disrespect at temple

AFP
Two male American tourists have been held for "inappropriate behavior" after sharing photos of them baring their buttocks at a famous Bangkok temple.
AFP

Two male American tourists have been held for “inappropriate behavior” after sharing photos of them baring their buttocks at a famous Bangkok temple, Thai police said on Wednesday, as the ruling junta cracks down on insults to Buddhism.

The pair, Joseph and Travis Dasilva, both 38, uploaded pictures on November 24 of their bared backsides at Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn) to Instagram.

It was not immediatley clear if the men were related.But their antics could land them in more serious trouble after police sought to charge them under a draconian computer crime law — an offense that can carry jail time.

The riverside temple, whose ancient “prang” or tower is one of Bangkok’s best known landmarks, features on the logo of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The men were detained at a Bangkok airport late on Tuesday and fined US$150 each.

“They were detained as they were about to leave Thailand,” Colonel Cherngron Rimpadee, an immigration police spokesman said, adding they were on a “watch list” after their social media posts caught authorities’ attention.

Colonel Jarupat Thongkomol, from the police station near the temple which is managing the case, said the men now faced more serious charges.

“We are now seeking court approval to prosecute them on Computer Crime Act for uploading pornographic pictures,” he said.

The act carries up to five years jail per charge.

Thailand takes a hardline on disrespectful gestures toward Buddhism.


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