Photos of Hong Kong tourists showing off what they caught in Andaman Sea in Thailand triggered an uproar on social media after they were accused of illegal fishing in the Similan National Park, a top diving destination.
The pictures alerted personnel of the Similan National Park and the police, who launched a manhunt for the tourists.
However, the boat captain who gave a ride to the tourists said the spear fishing activities took place not inside the national park but some 3 kilometers away from the protected zone.
About 20 mainland Chinese and Hong Kong tourists reportedly booked a trip to Similan through a Hong Kong agent from March 29 to April 3.
Panunee Sea Master, a local company that offered the diving trip, said the boat captain had initially refused to take the tourists to fish inside the park.
However, the tourists insisted and so the captain took them to the waters just outside the national park.
The manager of Panunee Sea Master said he was surprised by the incident and promised not to entertain tourists who insist on fishing in Similan.
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