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10 foreigners arrested for ‘pornographic dancing’ in Cambodia and facing YEAR in prison

A year in prison

Five Britons, two Canadians and a Dutchie are among a group of ten foreigners arrested in Cambodia for “singing and dancing pornographically”, after a raid on a party in Siem Reap near the tourist destination of Angkor Wat. They face up to a year in prison and could spend six months in detention before the case goes to court, according to reports.

Cambodian police released images online that appeared to show clothed and laughing tourists imitating sexual positions.

Police later posted a group shot of the 10 defendants, but several people in the original images do not appear to be among those arrested, one of the group told the Press Association under condition of anonymity.

They said they did not understand why they were being held, adding that they saw one of the arrested men vomiting in shock.

“Honestly, it was really confusing. Everyone was confused. They raided, rounded us up – there were about 80 to 100 people at this party. Some of them were tourists. There were about 30 of them [police officers],” the prisoner said.

They said the group believed police were cracking down on foreign tourists and expats wearing bikinis in public, and expat-run pub crawls in Siem Reap.

“We’re innocent”

“We’re innocent,” said the prisoner. “We don’t know why we’ve been arrested, we’re getting different stories from different people.”

They said their families were “worried sick”, adding: “Our parents are doing what they can. It’s really just trying to keep a good vibe until we know the outcome.”

The group said they had been sleeping on the floor of an office at a police station in Siem Reap for several days and stressed that they had been treated well, saying officers were friendly and had brought them pizza.

The arrested individuals confirmed their identities. They include five British men: Vincent Harley Robert Hook, 35, Daniel Richard Leeming Jones, 30, Thomas Alexander Jeffries, 22, Billy Stevens, 21, and Paul Francis Harris, 32.

Job Robertus van der Wel, from the Netherlands, 22, the Canadians Jessica Drolet, 25, of Ottawa, and Eden Koazoleas, 19, of Alberta, were also arrested, along with David Nikolaus Aleksandr Ballovarre, 22, of Oslo, Norway, and Paul Martin Brasch, 32, of New Zealand.

An official Cambodian police statement referenced pornography and dancing in publicising the arrests. Ten suspects had been charged following an investigation by the office combating human trafficking and protection of juveniles, it stated.

Samrith Sokhon, a prosecutor at the court in Siem Reap, said the 10 suspects were being charged with producing “pornographic pictures and materials”, which can carry a sentence of up to 12 months.

Duong Thavry, the head of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department in Siem Reap, said: “We cracked down on them because they committed activities that are against our culture.”

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Some of those arrested lived in Cambodia and others were tourists who had been in the country for several months. Officials said dozens more tourists had been released.

The UK Foreign Office said it was in contact with the British nationals arrested in Cambodia. “We are assisting five British men arrested in Cambodia and are providing support to their families,” it said in a statement.

In recent years, authorities in Cambodia have clamped down on visitors posting revealing images of themselves at temple sites. Tourists showing cleavage or wearing skimpy clothes have been banned from the Angkor temple complex since August 2016.

In 2015, several tourists were arrested for taking naked photographs at the complex. They received suspended sentences and were expelled from Cambodia.

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Thailand bans smoking on 20 popular beaches: one year prison or a 100,000 baht fine

Those caught lighting up could face a year’s imprisonment as the government seeks to end pollution and drain damage on Thai beaches caused by discarded cigarette butts.

Thailand is to ban smoking on some of the country’s most popular tourist beaches, with the prospect of up to a year in prison for those caught lighting up, according to reports by local media.

The move follows a recent survey of litter on Patong beach, Phuket – visited by millions of foreign tourists each year – which found an average of 0.76 cigarette butts per square metre in a sample area, which would amount to 101,058 butts on the 2.5km-long stretch of sand.

The survey was undertaken by the country’s department of marine and coastal resources, which described it as a “serious problem”. Discarded cigarette butts accounted for a third of rubbish collected by the department.

The ban, which will come into play in November, will affect 20 beaches including: Patong, Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai (Phuket); Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Khao Takiab (western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan); Pattaya, Jomtien, Bangsaen (eastern province of Chonburi) and Samila (Songkhla city).

Cigarette butts pose a risk to beach ecosystems, say Thailand government officials. “Cigarettes have a direct effect on the natural environment,” director general Jatuporn Buruspat told the Phuket Gazette. “The butts clog the drains contributing to floods. When the cigarettes stay under the beach sand for a long time, it also negatively affects the eco system. And then when the chemicals from the cigarette butts reach the water, it also releases cadmium, lead, arsenic and some acid from insecticide which are poison to the natural food chain.”

After a trial period, the ban is expected to be enforced on all Thai beaches, as well as on passenger and tourist boats, to tackle the problem of butts damaging the underwater environment. Anyone found to be breaking the law will face one year in jail or a maximum 100,000 baht fine, or both.

The Bangkok Post also reported the news, adding that Thailand has the sixth most rubbish-strewn areas of sea in the world.

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Thai ban on e-cigarettes could lead to ’10-year jail term’

A travel agent is urging others to tell their customers not to vape in Thailand as they could face up to 10 years in prison.

Pat Waterton, manager at Langley Travel, said she was unaware of the ban. She only learnt of the law when her nephew James was forced to pay $200 as an on-the-spot fine after being threatened with jail for having an e-cigarette in Bangkok.

The prison themed hostel in Bangkok that turns travellers into inmates
Speaking to Travel Weekly Waterton said: “If I’m selling Thailand I will definitely mention it now. All agents should. Thailand is very popular so we should make sure we are telling people about things that could ruin a holiday.”

In November 2014, Thailand approved legislation outlawing the import of e-cigarettes into the country. This has since been expanded to the export as well as sale of e-smoking devices and equipment. Although it is common to see people vaping in Thailand offenders are technically breaking the law as possession is illegal.

The Foreign Office advice is clear. On its website it instructs travellers not to bring vaporisers (like e-cigarettes) or refills into Thailand. The Foreign Office said: “These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted.

“The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to five years imprisonment if found guilty. Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.”

Kuoni, a UK tour operator which handles trips to Thailand, said it always advises travellers to check with the Foreign Office before embarking on a trip. A spokesperson for Kuoni said: “We encourage our customers to be travel aware and to visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Travel Aware site for foreign travel advice before they book.

“Travel Aware information can be found on our website and our Personal Travel Experts in store direct customers to the site at holiday planning stages for specific country advice, including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health.”

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Soldiers shut down unofficial Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan Island

KOH PHANGAN: The unofficial Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan Island was shut down by local authorities in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The soldiers descended on Ban Tai Beach following a tip from locals that a beach party was being held. Eyewitnesses reported that there were hunderds of people partying on the beach when soldiers arived.

Thairath described the holding of the beach party during the month of October “inappropriate”.

Illegal drugs
The local authorities found evidence of illegal selling and use of drugs. Soldiers confiscated 147 cylinders of Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as hippy crack, as well as a large amount of cannabis and other drug paraphernalia.

Soldiers later visited Haad Rin Beach, the venue of the original Full Moon Party. While not on the scale normally seen at a Full Moon Party, loud music was still playing and foreign tourists were seen eating and drinking.

Ceremony
Earlier this month, Koh Phangan district chief Kriekkrai Songthani announced that the event for October would be canceled on the resort island in the Gulf of Thailand. This to show respect during the cremation ceremony for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Local authorities had been ordered by the district to strictly adhere to the restrictions by closely monitoring all activities on the island. All entertainment activities would be be banned throughout the month but entertainment venues can sell drinks and food during the period.

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Koh Phangan cancels October Full Moon Party

SURAT THANI: Koh Phangan will cancel the full-moon party next month as the country prepares for the solemn cremation rites for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Koh Phangan district chief Kriekkrai Songthani said on Friday that the event for October would be called off on the resort island in the Gulf of Thailand.

The full moon day next month falls on Oct 5 but Rin beach, where the raucous event is normally held each month, is expected to be quiet. All entertainment activities will also be banned throughout the month but entertainment venues can sell drinks and food during the period, said Mr Kriekkrai.

Local authorities from kamnan to village chiefs have been ordered by the district to strictly adhere to the restrictions by closely monitoring all activities on the island, he added.

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UPDATE: CANCELED EVENTS IN OCTOBER

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that we have heard of the passing of His Majesty last year, King Bhumibol Aduljadey. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the Thai Royal Family and the entire Thai people who have dearly loved their ruler throughout his reign of 70 years.

Please understand that previously planned celebrations during the October month, such as the Full Moon Party and the Half Moon Festival will not take place.

With our deepest wishes,

Team FullMoonAsia.com

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