A South Korean actress might be facing a jail sentence of up to four years after she was charged for catching an endangered species of clam in Thailand, The Korea Herald reported.
23-year-old Lee Yeol Eum had allegedly committed the crime while participating in “Law of the Jungle”, a popular South Korean reality-documentary show where celebrities are left to survive in remote locations around the world, usually by collecting or hunting for food.
According to a report by The Korea Herald on Friday (July 5), the episode featuring Lee and seven other celebrities that aired on June 29 was filmed in a Thai national marine park on Ko Mook Island earlier in March.
During the episode, Lee was snorkeling and searching for food when she spotted a giant clam on the sea bed.
Despite failing to pull the clam out from the sea bed several times, Lee manages to bring the giant clam back to the boat. She then goes on to catch two more.
“I was the happiest person in the world. I did it, I caught this with my own hands” Lee was filmed as saying in a translation by online video streaming site Viu.
In the show‘s subsequent episode, the participants were filmed cooking and eating the giant clams.
According to AP, the chief of Hat Chao Mai National Park, Narong Kongeiad, filed police charges against Lee on July 3 for violating wildlife laws by hunting the giant clams.
For hunting the endangered species, Lee could face a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht (US$1,297), AP reported.
“The one who must be responsible is the actress who caught the shellfish because she directly violated the law,” AP quoted Narong as saying.
He added: “Others who were involved with the incident could also be charged as well.”
Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), the show’s producer, issued a statement on July 5 to apologise for filming the episode “without a thorough understanding of local regulations”, and added that it would be more careful in the future.
However, Narong said the producers had already been informed of the regulations prior to filming, AP reported.
“Sea resources in Hat Chao Mai cannot be caught, hunted or cooked, and the cast and crew were fully aware of that because the park firmly informed them of the park’s restrictions before they began filming,” AP quoted Narong as saying.
Lee made her debut six years ago, and has starred in several hit drama series such as “Monster” and “My First Love”. She most recently played a role in “Jang-Geum, Oh My Grandma” in 2018.
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