Noranontha Norakamin, 44, offers an apology at Wat Arun on Saturday as Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police, looks on. (Tourist police photo)
A Thai tourist guide has been publicly shamed, charged and had her licence revoked after posting pictures of inappropriate behaviour at Wat Arun in Bangkok.
Tourist Police officers brought Noranontha Norakamin, 44, of Nonthaburi, to the temple in Bangkok on Saturday to make an apology in the presence of the media following heavy criticism of her actions.
The offending images showed her stepping on the base of a stupa in a climbing pose at the famous site, also known as the Temple of Dawn.
Authorities also said they intended to crack down more sternly on those who did not respect places of worship and other sites of national heritage importance.
The incident follows the highly publicised case last month of two American men who posted pictures of their naked backsides at Wat Arun on Instagram.
The unrepentant pair were fined 5,000 baht each for public nudity, deported and will never be allowed back into the country. Many Thais said they were lucky they weren’t locked up for several years.
Miss Noranontha was charged with climbing an archaeological site and causing disorder in violation of the law on artefacts, archaeological sites and national museums.
She also lost her licence after confessing to the offence and will be tried at the Taling Chan court in Bangkok. A conviction carries a jail term of up to one month and/or a fine of up to 10,000 baht.
Escorting her at the temple, Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police, said her public display of contrition would be a warning to tourists and guides alike to be more respectfully.
Other people had engaged in similar misconduct and been punished but many of those acts had not been reported, he said.
The Tourist Police plan to strictly enforce laws against any tour guides who dress or act improperly at sacred sites, Pol Maj Gen Surachet added.