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Italian teens arrested, charged with insulting national flag

Italian teens arrested, charged with insulting national flag

PHUKET: Two Italian teenagers have been arrested and charged with desecrating Thailand’s national flag after they were caught on video pulling down flags hung from awnings in central Krabi while being drunk.

culturecrimealcoholpolicetourism
By Bangkok Post

Monday 9 January 2017, 05:23PM


The footage from a closed-circuit camera shows one of the tourists pulling down a Thai national flag in front of a shophouse on Soi Maharaj 4, Muang Krabi district, on Saturday (Jan 7). Photo: via Bangkok Post

The footage from a closed-circuit camera shows one of the tourists pulling down a Thai national flag in front of a shophouse on Soi Maharaj 4, Muang Krabi district, on Saturday (Jan 7). Photo: via Bangkok Post

Officers from Muang Krabi Police Station, accompanied by immigration and tourist police, arrested the men identified only as Tobias, 20, and Ian, 18, this morning (Jan 9) according to Thai media.

They were apprehended at a guesthouse on Soi Maharaj 2 in Pak Nam subdistrict, just two sois from where the incident took place. 

During interrogation, the two tourists allegedly admitted to being the men on the videos, saying the incident happened after they left a pub. They were very drunk and could not remember what they had done.

The Italian tourists performed a wai and apologised to Krabi residents and the Thai public for what happened. 

“We were really very drunk, we like the Thai people and we like the Thai culture,” Tobias told local media.

“We didn’t know about the [flag protection] law. And we just want to say we're really very sorry.”

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Lt Khunsawai Khunno, Deputy Investigation Chief at Muang Krabi Police Station, said the men were initially charged with colluding to damage other people’s property and desecrating the national flag.   

The incident occurred in front of shophouses decorated with national flags on Soi Maharaj 4 at 3:30am on Saturday (Jan 7). Ian was filmed pulling on a hanging flag and Tobias ripped down four more flags including the one grabbed by his friend who looked on, laughing. Tobias later pushed two flower pots while walking away.

Under the Thai criminal law, anyone found guilty of desecrating flags or state symbols is subject to a jail term not exceeding two years and a fine up to B4,000 or both.

The Thai Flag Act also stipulates penalties – a six-month prison term and a B1,000 fine – for such actions.

Read original story here.

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LES | 10 January 2017 - 16:02:43

Its easy to say sorry after the event but when will people start taking some responsibility.Deportation and keep them out of jail, leave it at that

Kurt | 10 January 2017 - 13:14:24

Indeed, a hysterical overreaction.
Aren't there enough flags still out?
I find this less important than a falling asleep taxi driver who kills a 21 year old student girl.

Try to see matters in the right proportions.

Pauly44 | 10 January 2017 - 12:03:35

Bit of an overreaction don't you think, just some drunk kids pulling down a flag hardly call for the death penalty is it, at the same time a murderous driver gets a slap on the wrist, Thai justice appears disproportionate..

Bad Farung | 09 January 2017 - 19:20:48

They give the expats and tourists in Thailand a bad name and should be deported.

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