Rihanna and a slow loris in Thailand
09/23/2013 at 12:05 PM EDT
They say a photo is worth a thousand words – well, this one was also worth an arrest warrant.
While spending a weekend at the beach in Thailand, Rihanna
left behind a trail of racy Tweets and an incriminating Instagram photo
showing her cuddling an endangered primate. That didn't sit well with authorities, who arrested two people for allegedly peddling the protected species.
On a break from her Diamonds World Tour, Rihanna visited the Thai island of Phuket, where she befriended the wildlife. An Instagram photo she also shared on Twitter Friday showed her in sunglasses snuggling up to a furry primate called the slow loris, captioned, "Look who was talkin dirty to me!"
The slow loris, a squirrel-like animal with big eyes, is native to Southeast Asia and is listed as a protected species.
"Phuket authorities were alerted to the picture (of Rihanna), and last night police arrested the two individuals who brought out the loris as a photo opportunity for tourists," a Phuket district chief, Weera Kerdsirimongkon, said by telephone Sunday.
Police confiscated two lorises from the pair – a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy – who could face charges of possession of protected animals. The charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison and a 40,000 baht ($1,300) fine.
Weera said authorities have tried for years to crack down on the problem of vendors exploiting wildlife, particularly in popular tourist areas where people pay to pose for pictures with elephants, orangutans and other animals.
"It's like a cat-and-mouse game. But this time it's bigger because a celebrity like Rihanna posted the picture, and there were more than 200,000 'likes' from around the world," he said.
Rihanna also posted a picture
of herself playing with a herd of elephants in the street Friday night, with the comment: "They all hail Empress when She walk by." The singer visited the country prior to Sunday's performance in Singapore.