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South Korean actress faces up to four years in a Thai jail for catching endangered clams in a marine reserve while starring on a survival-based reality TV show

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 5/7/2019 Chris Pleasance

A South Korean actress is facing up to four years in jail after she caught and ate endangered giant clams as part of a reality TV show.

a person posing for the camera: Lee Yeol-eum has been charged with hunting a protected species after she caught and ate three giant clams in Thailand's Hat Chao Mai National Park for a survival show © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Lee Yeol-eum has been charged with hunting a protected species after she caught and ate three giant clams in Thailand's Hat Chao Mai National Park for a survival show Thai authorities have charged Lee Yeol-eum with hunting the protected species on SBS survival show Law Of The Jungle, leaving her facing a jail term or a £1,000 fine.

Lee was shown cheering after she managed to catch three of the giant clams in Hat Chao Mai National Park, which the contestants then ate for a meal. 

Thai authorities say the actress could face up to four years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht. 

The show was filmed in March, and aired for the first time Sunday, sparking outcry. 

The show's broadcaster has apologised for the incident.

Narong Kongeiad, chief of Hat Chao Mai National Park, said he filed police charges against Lee on Wednesday for violating wildlife laws by hunting the giant clams, scientifically known as tridacna gigas.

'The one who must be responsible is the actress who caught the shellfish because she directly violated the law,' he said.

'Others who were involved with the incident could also be charged as well.'

The Law Of The Jungle has aired since 2011 and places South Korean celebrities in groups that are sent out to test their survival skills in remote locations.

Seoul Broadcasting System, the show's producer, issued a statement saying it 'deeply apologises' for filming the episode without a thorough understanding of local regulations, and said it would be more careful in the future.

Lee is now facing up to four years in jail after the episode of Law Of The Jungle aired on Sunday night, sparking outrage © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Lee is now facing up to four years in jail after the episode of Law Of The Jungle aired on Sunday night, sparking outrage

However, Mr Narong said the producers had been informed of the regulations. 

'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,' Mr Narong said.

A source at the park said the show had been given permission to film there, but often went out unaccompanied after failing to inform guides they were filming. 

The incident has triggered an angry reaction among internet users, especially among South Koreans, who have called for the show to be cancelled.

The marine park is in the southern Thai province of Trang, 420 miles south of Bangkok.

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(Content provided by Good Housekeeping)

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