A Russian tourist sparked anger after spraying graffiti on a rock on a picturesque Thai beach.
The vandal, Dmitrii Bragin, daubed the black eagle on the Nai Thon beach in Phuket, southern Thailand, earlier this month.
Outraged passers-by noticed the graffiti and contacted the police. Park officials later arrived and cleaned away the vandalism yesterday (Feb 27).
Asked for comment over Whatsapp today (Feb 28), Dmitrii apologised. He said: ''I would like to apologise. I did not think that Thais love stones so much. I usually choose quiet places so where it doesn't bother anyone. I didn’t have any thoughts of doing harm. On the contrary, I wanted to decorate this place, to make these stones more alive.
''I'm in shock by the reaction to it. in more civilised and developed countries, there is no such reaction if you paint trains for example.''
Angry local property manager, Elijah Roma, 39, filmed the beautiful sunset which he said was spoiled by the crass spray paint doodle.
He said: ''This painting ruins the beautiful view of the beach. I'm disgusted that somebody could be so thoughtless to do this.''
Officers identified Dmitrii Bragin through his Instagram page, dem51, where he documents his travels doing street art. One post appeared to show the vandalism on the beach.
Tourist police received complaints about the graffiti and moved to question the Russian but immigration records showed that he had left Thailand on February 17.
The national park chief Natthawat Nuisringam ordered the officers to erase and cleaned the rock and said it was an inappropriate way to express art.
He said: "Having a talent is a good thing but using it to damage nature and other property is awful.
“We received complaints about the graffiti and immediately went to inspect the area and found the painted rock, which is about eight kilometers to the south of Nai Thon beach.
“We are responsible for the protection and maintenance of the National Park and this kind of act of vandalism will be punishable with a fine not exceeding 500 baht.”