Tourists could face DEATH penalty if they take photos in this popular holiday destination

THAILAND holidays are hugely popular with Britons looking to escape to sun, sea and sand. However, tourists could face the death penalty if they take photos on one popular Phuket beach famous for low-flying planes.

Thailand holidaymakers could risk imprisonment or even death if they take runway selfies at a Phuket beach. 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 thrill-seekers trying to snap the perfect shot and posing with the aircraft as they approach. Authorities have claimed the constant photo-taking is distracting pilots and visitors have been banned from the area.

They have introduced a 9km-long exclusion zone on Mai Khao beach 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 the ban is to prevent pilots getting distracted.

He told local media 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.

Some people are questioning how the exclusion will be imposed as the beach is very easily accessible.

“I took photos there two years ago when it was not made popular by social media yet,” Sukris Koyakradej, a member of Phuket Tourist Association’s executive committee told the South China Morning Post.

“I don’t think the airport can block the entrance to the beach because it is not part of the runway.”

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.”

Phuket International Airport deputy chief Wichit Kaeothaithiam on Thursday told Bangkok Post taking photos at the nearby Mai Khao Beach will soon be illegal.

“People and tourists will not be allowed to enter this area to take photos,” Kaeothaithiam said, adding: “The maximum penalty is the death sentence.”

Locals are concerned the severe ban could result in deceased tourist number which could impact the island.

“If the beach is closed, we will have serious problems because many tourists simply will not come,” Winai Sae-io, head of a local entrepreneurial stimulus program, told The Phuket News.

“I want (Airports of Thailand, which operates Phuket International Airport) to look at us and support locals in making (a) living here, too.”

Photo taking is also a risky business in Dubai, where taking pictures of government buildings is illegal.

This, coupled with selfies outside courts, military areas and lavish palaces could also see Britons fined or detained in the country, to face criminal charges.

The country’s laws forbid such pictures, with plane spotting also regarded as a similar offence. Prison sentences can range from one to three months in jail or fine of up to Dh5,000, according to lawyer Yousef Al Bahar.

In a chat reported on website, he advised British holidaymakers to familiarise themselves with the very different photography laws by reading a book prior to travel.

He said: “In most of the areas, like public areas, there is a sign that you cannot take a photo.”

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