A cruel fisherman was arrested after footage emerged allegedly showed him using a gun to shoot a shark that surfaced near his boat.
Prakai Uiwong, 26, boarded a speed boat with seven colleagues to allegedly hunt for blacktip reef sharks off the coast of a protected environmental area in Krabi province, southern Thailand, on June 13.
At first, the men were using arrows to strike the baited sharks and pull them into the boat until Prakai took out a hand gun and fired four shots into one of the creatures.
Footage of the incident was recorded live on Chinese video-sharing app TikTok before it reached authorities and led to the arrest of the fisherman the next day (June 14).
Marine police inspector Major Thaweelap Suwannareuk said: ‘We are now investigating about the incident that happened off the coast of Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park.
‘We will prepare the charges for him as he was seen harming a near-threatened wildlife species. We are also looking at his companions if they violated anything.’
The speedboat’s owner Alongkorn Chonlathee, 30, was fined 10,000 baht for using the watercraft for illegal fishing while their colleagues were still being investigated.
Speaking at the police station, the apologetic Prakai who also worked as a pork vendor said: ‘It was a life lesson and I will make sure to think thoroughly before doing something reckless in the future.’
The blacktip shark is listed as ‘near threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its declining population but it was not yet listed under protected species in Thailand.
However, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment officer Varawut Silpa-archa said they will hasten the consideration of having the sharks in the protected status..
He said: ‘I was very saddened with what they did. We will hasten our consideration of having blacktip reef sharks in the protected status as soon as possible to prevent similar incidents in the future.’