Actress Lee Yeol Eum faces four years in prison after catching and eating endangered clams in Thailand while on the program ‘Law Of The Jungle‘.
The scene in question was aired on June 29 in “Law of the Jungle in Lost Island.” The cast were at Ko Muk Island in the southern part of Thailand and actress Lee Yul Eum was seen catching giant clams, which the cast cooked and consumed together. The scene was then shared on social media, where it gained traction and prompted requests for the show to be investigated.
Charges have been filed against the actress, which could result in a fine in addition to prison time and could involve others who participated.
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. The charge carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht (US$1,300). “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 producers of the show have issued an apology, notably saying they were not aware of the regulations.
“Law of the Jungle” has taken down all video clips that show the cast catching and cooking giant clams from their official website. The “Law of the Jungle” team has also released an official apology that reads, “We sincerely apologize for failing to become fully informed of the local regulations regarding giant clams in Thailand, and we will be more aware of our actions in the future.”
But people connected with the park dispute this, saying the show was informed and they weren’t able to be actively monitoring because of a lack of communication.
The “Law of the Jungle” team was granted permission to film in the area from the Tourism Department of Thailand and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. However, a source from the Hat Chao Mai National Park Department explained that it was difficult to monitor the team as they did not inform officials every time they were filming in different areas within the park. The source stated, “They were fully aware of the laws and regulations. We have already been in touch with coordinating firms to inform them of their wrongdoing and further legal action.”
“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,” Narong said.
Seems reasonable to give the benefit of the doubt to the park considering it was the show who has already obviously been the cause of a massive fuckup, which doesn’t exactly instill confidence that they did their due diligence on anything.
Though I do think that unless Lee Yeol Eum was directly informed and took the clams anyway, that the burden of the punishment should fall on the producers who green-lit it, the staff who didn’t stop anybody involved, and the broadcaster for showing it. Scapegoating her would be ridiculous when she likely thought she was doing something cool for the show and was probably egged on by staff like all ‘reality’ shows do.