Thai authorities have fined two American tourists for revealing their buttocks in a photo taken last week at Bangkok’s Wat Arun, but authorities say the pair could could face further charges.
The two travelers, Joseph Dasilva, 38, and Travis Dasilva, 36, were arrested Tuesday night local time at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport, and fined 5,000 baht ($154) each for public indecency. Deputy spokesman of the Thai immigration police, Col Choengron Rimpadee, told the BBC the Dasilvas had been on a watch list after authorities flagged their controversial social media post.
“Once they are through with the charges, the Thai immigration police will revoke their visas and push for deportation,” he said. “They will also be blacklisted from coming back to Thailand.”
However, the Bangkok Post reported punishment for such violations (such a religious insult) could have been more serious, and the Americans might be still be up for charges that could result in possible imprisonment in addition to their existing fines. The Bangkok Post claims they could be additionally charged with violating Thailand’s Computer Crime Act by “posting pornographic pictures online” as well as “breaching Section 206 of the criminal law concerning behavior at a religious place that insults the religion”, quoting police chief Jaruphat.
The Bangkok Post claims the offense under the computer crime act is punishable by jail time of up to five years and/or a fine of up to 100,000 baht ($3,070).
Police chief Jaruphat said the two would also be fined for a similar picture taken at another temple in Bangkok, which was uploaded as the pair were detained for the Wat Arun photo, while police considered the possible violation of Thailand’s Computer Crime Act.
The Daslivas ran a since-deleted joint Instagram account called traveling_butts; a profile that showcased similar ‘butt selfies’ captured at tourists sites around the world. The account had more than 14,000 followers.
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN) identified the men as a married couple from San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, and reported that they were seeking assistance from San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez. Murray-Ramirez says that the men reached out to him and he is talking to American authorities on what to do next, according to SDGLN.
“Though I am very disappointed in their actions, I am talking to U.S. government officials to see what assistance we can give them,” Murray-Ramirez told SDGLN.
While Thailand has a reputation for racy partying and bikini-clad beach-goers, the mostly-Buddhist country is deeply conservative. Revealing clothing is looked down upon and public nudity is considered outright offensive, reports Reuters.