The chief of Khao Yai National Park has been transferred following a video clip of a Chinese New Year party he arranged at the park on Wednesday night featuring go-go dancers or so-called “coyote dancers” went viral on social media.
The order was made by Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa after the party was confirmed to have been organised by national park chief Adisak Phusitwongsanuyutat.
Mr Silpa-archa said the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has appointed Dumras Phoprasit, director of DNP’s National Park Office, as acting chief of the park. Who will serve as the permanent replacement in the park chief role has yet to be decided.
A fact-finding panel also has been established to probe the incident, and Mr Phusitwongsanuyutat will surely face punishment, Mr Silpa-archa said.
According to an online media source, before the party, park officials held a morning ceremony at Chao Poh Khao Yai Chinese shrine.
They then held their annual sports competition in the afternoon.
Previously for Chinese New Year celebrations, the park would later present folk song performances.
This year however they held a party featuring a pop-music band with coyote dancers. The entertainment was said to cost about 50,000 baht.
More than 40 Chinese tables — large, round settings with dishes brought out gradually over time costing some 20,000 baht — were procured for party guests including park officials.
Park officials were not allowed to invite their spouses and during the party, they were prohibited from taking photos, rules that led to discontent among some officials, the media source said.
Mr Phusitwongsanuyutat told reporters it was his aim to reward his subordinates for their hard work throughout the year.
“I alone am responsible for this mistake,” said Mr Phusitwongsanuyutat.
Meanwhile, a conservation group and advisory committee at the park said they did not know about or authorise the party.
DNP regulations clearly stipulate that alcoholic drinks and activities that cause noise disturbance are not permitted in the national park area, they said.