Destinations

News of ‘death penalty’ for Thai airport selfies labelled “fake”

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

It appears a number of media outlets around the world have been fooled into spreading fake news about harsh penalties for people who take airport selfies near Phuket International Airport.

Early last month, when The Thaigerand later The Phuket Newsbroke the news that Phuket’s well-known airport selfie spot would be moved to another section of Mai Khao beach, there was no reference to the selfies incurring the death penalty.

A month later, the story has taken on a life of its own, with media outlets around the world claiming that selfie-takers will be put to death by capital punishment.

In its original article, The Thaiger reported Phuket airport authorities were looking to restrict photography of aircraft on the northern end of Nai Yang beach, a section of sand known for attracting tourists seeking selfies with landing aircraft.

Apichet Buatong, the secretary to Deputy Director of Phuket International Airport (corporate side) Kanyarat Sutipattanakit, has since confirmed that tourists taking selfies will not face the death penalty.

“That is a misinterpretation by international media that we are also trying to clear up… We’ve simply marked out the new “safety zone” that we prohibit tourists entering for their own safety,” Buatong told Coconuts Bangkok

The stretch of beach is incredibly close to the runway at Phuket International airport and offers photographers and travellers the opportunity to snap an image of aircraft as they land just metres away.

Unidentified tourists at Mai Khao beach with commercial aircraft landing at Phuket International Airport

The Thaiger’s report added that Wichit Kaewsaithiam, another deputy director of Phuket Airport, had declared public access would be pushed back along the beach, to conserve aviation safety.

“We want both the income from tourism and the aviation safety to co-exist,” Wichit said.

The story then that selfies would lead to capital punishment, comes from Bankgok Post’s article—which several local news providers have cited, including the ABC, news.com.au and TravelTalk—that The Thaiger believes is fear-mongering.

“International media are going crazy over a completely nonsense story. But, of course, one outlet posts the fake news and the others copy/paste,” The Thaiger reported.

It is believed that the confusion surrounding the allegation stems from the misinterpration of two lines within The Post’s report:

‘Violators [of the Air Navigation Act] are subject to punishments under the Air Navigation Act.
“The maximum penalty is the death sentence,” Mr Wichit said.’

In The Post’s article, Wichit insists authorities must apply strict safety rules as required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Wichit also warns “people, businesspeople and tourists living within a nine-kilometre radius of the airport against flying drones and shining flashlights at planes.”

It is clear then that violators of the Air Navigation Act, not selfie-takers, will be subject to capital punishment.

“An article in Bangkok Post from March 8 finishes with an unrelated reference to disturbances to aircraft and pilots. The international tabloids have added 2 plus 2 together and come up with 17!” The Thaiger said.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Road & Rail

Tourism

Kiwi rail journey provider closes outdoor carriages due to dangerous selfies

Passengers’ risky behaviour in search of the ultimate selfie has forced the closure of some iconic train viewing platforms.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Travel Agents

Afterpay expands into travel with lay-by holiday offering

by Christian Fleetwood

Travel Weekly’s editor is planning to lay-by a holiday as soon as he finishes paying off a Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash Track Set from Kmart.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

At least 29 people killed in Madeira tourist bus crash

by Ali Coulton

The driver reportedly lost control of the bus before it plunged off the road and rolled down a hill.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

India’s Jet Airways collapses due to funding shortage

by Huntley Mitchell

It’s turning out to be a day of collapses this fine Thursday, with the office chair of Travel Weekly’s editor having just given way to his posterior.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Etihad to operate entirely plastic-free flight for Earth Day

This Earth Day, Travel Weekly is committing to slapping single-use coffee cups out of the hands of at least three commuters on our way to work. They’ll thank us when they recover from the burns.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Expedia to no longer be a controlled company following new acquisition

Online travel behemoth Expedia has broken the shackles and surfaced from its parent’s basement looking rather healthy, rather than malnourished and disheveled.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

One in five Aussies admit to missing their pets more than their kids when they go away

Pet owners across Australia are no doubt preparing to say tearful goodbyes to their furry life partners before going away this Easter, while simultaneously flipping off their kids.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent wrap: Qantas Holidays rewards premium agents, Bench Africa famil + more!

Does seeing all the famil pictures in our agent wraps make you green with envy? Take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to come into work for the next four days. We know we are.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel wrap: Preferred hotels & resorts new members, Australia gets a second voco + more!

We took a 10-minute break from scoffing Easter eggs to bring you up to date with all the latest hotel openings and deals. You’re welcome.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

Travel Agents

Wholesalers

Why you need to attend the Amazing Tastes of Thailand roadshow

The Amazing Tastes of Thailand roadshow is just around the corner! Here’s why YOU need to be there.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival cruise ship rescues dozens of people adrift at sea

A Carnival cruise ship has gone all Baywatch and saved the day by helping rescue a vessel carrying more than 20 passengers adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

WTF? Air stewards are selling unwashed uniforms on eBay

Inspired by this story, Travel Weekly’s editor is attempting to sell a pair of his unwashed Calvin Klein briefs on Gumtree, all for a low, low price of $1.25 plus shipping.

Share

CommentComments