Korean TV viewers dismayed at giant clam catching by ‘Law of the Jungle” crew in Thailand
A Thai newspaper, Post Today, reported that Korean viewers were disappointed and dismayed upon learning that the production crew and cast of the South Korean SBS Television show “Law of the Jungle” had allegedly caught protected giant clams while filming in Thailand.
The paper quoted a report by the Korean news agency, Yonhap, who interviewed the South Korean Ambassador to Thailand, saying that the South Korean Embassy is looking into the details of the matter and will coordinate between the Thai side and the production company.
At the end of the interview, viewers expressed anger with the production company and the actress. Some called for an end to the show. Some said it was not Lee Yeol Eum’s fault and the producer should be held responsible because it is the producer’s job to know about all related laws and regulations in countries in which they film the show.
A viewer asked that the company to take full responsibility, calling the incident “very disgraceful” adding that the program “must stop now.”
Another South Korean news agency, YTN NEWS, questioned whether the Thai production coordinator, known in the TV and film business as the ‘fixer’, had made sure that the crew was aware of the relevant laws.
The fans on Korean drama and music website, allkpop.com, also expressed disbelief that the Korean filming crew did such a bad thing, saying “Wow! This is not a matter of innocence, it’s a total ignorance of the existing Thai law, showing the worst kind of disrespect for the Thai legal system by the team.”
Readers on CAN, Singapore, also expressed outrage at the act, saying “The producer must be prosecuted under Thai law,” and that “The actress must not have been aware of the law to do such a thing”. Another reader, however, pointed out that ignorance of the law excuses no one”
Meanwhile, the Department of National parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) released a statement on its Facebook page on Monday (July 8th) to confirm that the production crew did not have the correct permits to film at some locations and legal steps are being taken.
The statement, verified by DNP’s director-general Thanya Neti-thamma-kul, listed the timeline of events as follows:
- Thailand’s Department of Tourism (DOT) notified the DNP of its approval for the Sixth Element Company Limited, producer of the show “Law of the Jungle”, to film and operate a drone in specified areas in Thailand (in accordance with Section 20 of the Film and Video Act B.E. 2551).
- The DOT then sought the DNPs’ permission for the film crew to enter Hat Chao Mai national park, which includes Koh Waen and Koh Muk, on March 29th and from April 1st-April 3rd on the condition that its activities will not affect the marine life and the ecological system.
- The DNP informed the company on March 27th that permits had been approved to film as requested. The Chief of Hat Chao Mai national Park oversaw all the filming, including travel to Hat Chao Mai on March 29th, Koh Muk on April 2nd and 3rd, Koh Waen on April 1st and 3rd.
- Park officials reported that the filming went well, except on April 1st when the crew were scheduled to film at Aow Sabai, Koh Waen and the Emerald Cave on Koh Muk. Seas were rough that day and the producers told park officials that they would cancel that filming. The crew then moved to Aow Loh Udong, where the catching of the giant clams allegedly took place, without informing the attending officials.
- On July 3rd a Facebook page under the username ‘Bussaba Wanlapatith’ posted a clip of the program featuring the actress, Lee Yeol Eum, holding a giant clam in her hand underwater.
- After a review of the images, Hat Chao Mai national park deemed the action to be in breach of the National Parks Act B.E. 2504 Article 16 (3) and Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act B.E. 2535, which prohibits the obtaining of conserved or protected animals, and the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act B.E. 2546, which specifies the giant clam as protected marine animal number 11. The park has filed a law suit against the production company at Kantang Police Station in Trang.