'Butt Selfie' by 2 Americans Leads to Arrests in Thailand

San Diego couple to be charged with public nudity over photo near temple
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2017 12:28 PM CST
Butt-Baring US Tourists Detained in Thailand
A file photo of the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

The State Department cautions US travelers to understand foreign laws—a warning that a San Diego couple apparently failed to heed before arriving in Thailand, where a "butt selfie" has landed the pair in an immigration detention center. Thai authorities tell the BBC that a photo posted to Instagram and Twitter showed Joseph and Travis Dasilva, both 38, posing at Bangkok's Wat Arun temple with their bums bared, in violation of laws demanding respect of the Buddhist religion. The men were put on a watch list after the photo was spotted by authorities, according to a rep for Thai immigration police. They were then detained Tuesday as they tried to leave the country from Bangkok's Don Mueang airport. The rep says the men will be charged with public nudity, which carries a fine of up to $153 each.

"Thai immigration police will revoke their visas and push for deportation. They will also be blacklisted from coming back to Thailand," the rep says. However, other government and police sources tell the BBC that the men could also face more serious charges. A city commissioner in San Diego says the pair are in contact, adding, "I am talking to US government officials to see what assistance we can give them," per the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. The couple operated Instagram account "traveling_butts," which had 14,000 followers before it was deleted Wednesday, per Reuters. It has since resurfaced. "It was worth the arrest!!!" reads a comment on one of two butt-baring photos from Bangkok. "Always know the place you visit," reads another. "This is totally disrespectful!" (More Thailand stories.)

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