San Diego couple arrested for semi-nude photos outside temple in Thailand

San Diego couple arrested for semi-nude photos outside temple in Thailand

Joseph, 38, and 36-year-old Travis, both from California, were nabbed as they tried to flee the country via Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport after their photo went viral.

"The two American citizens have admitted taking the picture", district Police Chief Jaruphat Thongkomol told the media.

USA Today says that the men were arrested after their photo in front of Bangkok's Wat Arun was widely shared.

San Diego couple arrested for semi-nude photos outside temple in Thailand

Buddhist sites in Thailand have signs up that remind people to dress modestly and to cover their shoulders and legs if possible, so the men taking their trousers down in these locations was considered an intense sign of disrespect.

'The charge would not be a normal public indecency charge.

Immigration police arrested two Americans at Don Mueang airport and said they confessed to posing for photos at the Temple of Dawn while showing their naked buttocks.

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Deputy police spokesman Krisana Pattanacharoen told AP that the Joseph and Travis were taken to a police station near the temple and forced to pay a fine of roughly $150.

They were each fined 5,000 baht ($153) for public nudity, an offense taken seriously in the Buddhist-majority country.

However, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News has reported that their legal situation has worsened as the Thai government wants to add serious religious insult charges and prosecution of a computer crime law prohibiting online pornography. Violation of this act carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, and is often used to silence online speech that is deemed disrespectful of the Thai government.

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The pair live in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego and are in contact with San Diego's City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez.

The Instagram account had more than 14,000 followers but on Wednesday it had been deleted.

San Diego city commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez told the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News that the couple reached out to her for help, adding, "Though I am very disappointed in their actions, I am talking to USA government officials to see what assistance we can give them".

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