Taking a selfie at Phuket’s Mai Khao beach in Thailand can now land you in jail with a heavy fine or may even get you a death penalty. Phuket International Airport is next to Mai Khao beach and planes fly low over the sand as they come into land. The spot has become popular with those looking for a adrenaline rush, trying to snap the perfect shot and posing with the aircraft as they approach. However, authorities have now claimed the constant photo-taking is distracting pilots. and visitors have been banned from the area. In fact, locals and tourists have also been instructed to avoid flying drones and shining flashlights at planes at the beach, as a lot of drone sightings have led to cancellations of planes.
A 9 km-long exclusion zone on Mai Khao beach has been introduced to clamp down on selfie-snapping. The punishment for trespassing could be jail time - but the maximum penalty is death.
Vijit Kaewsaiteam, vice president of Phuket International Airport, has said that the ban is to prevent pilots getting distracted. As reported by Express.co.uk, Kaewsaiteam said that bright lights had dazzled pilots at nights and drone photography was also a risk. In Thailand, if you’re found to be endangering an aircraft, you risk a prison sentence between five years and life imprisonment. The very worst offenders could face capital punishment and be executed.
However, locals are not too pleased with the ban as they feel this will affect their business and livelihoods. The decision to shut off the section of beach will affect the tourism badly. According to a report by the local media, a source said that If the beach is closed, we will have serious problems because many tourists simply will not come.
I want (Airports of Thailand, which operates Phuket International Airport) to look at us and support locals in making (a) living here, too, they added.
Tharika Nokkaew, from Sirinat National Park which oversees the beach’s management, added that no restrictions had been put in place yet “and there are always a lot of tourists there all the time.” However, the airport authorities are adamant to impose the ban.