The skipper of a tourist boat and his mechanic were held in the custody of the naval officers on charges of intrusion after they took over 200 Russian tourists to Koh Rin island which was declared off-limits to outsiders.
The Royal Thai Navy dispatched a patrol boat from Sattahip naval base to Koh Rin after it was reported that a tourist boat had brought a large group of foreign tourists to the island.
Naval officers found the tourist boat, named Close Vita, anchoring in the sea a short distance from the island with several tourists being offloaded on a small boat to head for the beach where another large group of foreign tourists were playing beach volley ball, sunbathing or swimming.
The officers held the skipper, identified only as Pongsakorn, and the mechanic, Chatupong, and ordered all the temporary structures erected on the island dismantled.
All the tourists who were Russians were then informed that the island was a military site off-limits to unauthorized outsiders and herded back on the tourist boat.
Both the skipper and the mechanic were later handed over to Sattahip police to face charges of intrusion while the Russian tourists were freed.
Sattahip naval base commander Vice Admiral Noppadon Supakorn admitted that tour operators occasionally brought tourists to Koh Rin as well as other islands which are off-limits to outsiders such as Hin Khao, Hin Ton Mai, Marhvichai, Hoo Chang and Lerm Noi.
He pleaded with tour operators not to bring tourists to these islands for their safety.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)