The American couple recently arrested by Thailand officials for taking pictures with their butts exposed while at Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), a Buddhist temple, may face serious charges that could lead to several years of jail time.
The married couple was arrested by immigration police at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok on Tuesday.
According to the chief of Yai police station in Bangkok, Pol Col Jarupat Thongkomol, the married couple, Joseph, 38, and Travis Dasilva, 36, may be charged with violating the computer crime law for posting lewd photos online, and breaching Section 206 of the criminal law, Bangkok Post reported.
For violating the country’s Computer Crime Act, the couple faces a maximum of five years in prison and/or a fine of not more than 100,000 baht ($3,063).
Under the Section 206 breach of “Insulting or Defaming a Religion,” the couple can face a minimum of two years and a maximum of seven years in a Thai prison for the crime. A fine of 2,000 baht ($61.26) to 14,000 baht ($428.82) may also be considered on top of the prison sentence. The couple may also face discrimination for their sexual identity given Thailand’s less than fair treatment and limited basic rights for the LGBT community.
During their investigation into the couple’s actions, police suspected the duo committed the same offenses at a different religious site in Bangkok, later identified to be the Wat Trai Mit Witthayaram (Golden Buddha temple), according to Pol Col Jarupat.
The couple reached out to San Diego human relations commissioner and LGBT activist, Nicole Murray-Ramirez, earlier this week. He is now speaking with American officials regarding the assistance they could provide for Joseph and Travis, who are currently being held at the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok.
“Though I am very disappointed in their actions, I am talking to U.S. government officials to see what assistance we can give them,” he told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
Joseph and Travis, minor Instagram celebrities from San Diego, California, who collectively went by the handle of “Traveling Butts,” have more than 14,000 followers on the social media platform before their joint account got taken down, Los Angeles Times reported.
Image source Immigration Bureau via Bangkok Post