The news broke after tour guide and local marine-life conservationist Khanchit Klingklip, also known by his online moniker "Seaman Freeman", posted photos of the tourist carrying the starfish on the Healthy Reefs Club Line group yesterday evening.
Maj Anurak Klangnarong of the Chalong Police told The Phuket News today, “We will track down this tourist, who was walking with a tour group at Chalong Pier yesterday at 6pm.
“I want to find out where the tourist got the starfish," he said.
Maj Anurak promised to bring charges against the tourist, if charges could be brought.
"After all evidence has been gathered, if possible, I will charge him," he said.
Of note, starfish are not a protected species in Thailand (See full list here.)
They are protected, however, if they are within a protected area, such as a national park.
Specifically, Section 16 (3) of the National Park Act stipulates, "No person shall take out animals or do by any means whatsoever things endangering the animals." (See law here.)
Mr Khanchit told The Phuket News today that he was informed of the starfish-carrying tourist by a fellow conservationist.
“I think tourists should no remove any starfish, or even touch them. A blue starfish should be preserved," he said.
"We don’t know where the tourist got it from. I am concerned why his tour guide didn't warn him," he added.
“We don’t need these things to happen again. Tour guides must be aware of this. Please stop it," Mr Khanchit said.
"Do not let tourists come to destroy our natural wildlife, because all marine life is a valuable resource. Please save them,” he urged.
Meanwhile, Watcharin Thintalang, the Director of the Phuket office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), was not available for comment when the called The Phuket News called earlier today.