September 23, 2013 14:15

Thai animal keepers arrested after allowing Rihanna to take selfie with protected animal

Singer's holiday snap with slow loris alerts authorities to possible illegal possession of protected animals

Thai animal keepers arrested after allowing Rihanna to take selfie with protected animal

Photo: Rihanna/Instagram

A selfie taken by Rihanna showing her cuddling a slow loris during her holiday in Thailand has led to the arrest of two animal keepers.

As Billboard reports, the singer posted a holiday snap on Instagram showing her with the primate, accompanied by the caption: "Look who was talkin dirty to me." However, as the slow loris is listed as a protected species, her photograph alerted authorities in Phuket and eventually led police to arrest the two men who had provided the loris for possession of protected animals.

Speaking about the arrest of the two men, who are reportedly a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, Phuket district chief Weera Kerdsirimongkon said: "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."

The pair could now face up to four years in prison and a fine of 40,000 baht (£809). Kerdsirimongkon, who claimed that police had been trying to stop vendors exploiting wildlife such as elephants and orangutangs in tourist hotspots, added: "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."

Rihanna was in court herself earlier this year (July 2013), after she triumphed in a legal battle with Topshop over a T-shirt that misleadingly bears her image. A High Court judge, Mr Justice Birss, ruled that a "substantial number" of customers could have been duped into buying the T-shirt because it looked as though Rihanna herself had approved it. The picture printed on the garment, the singer's lawyers argued, was "very similar" to images used on one of her album sleeves.

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