Rihanna’s Instagram Pic With Slow Loris Prompts Police Raid

23, 2013, 8:05 PM EST Entertainment Tonight. A seemingly harmless photo that Rihanna posted over the weekend with a primate in Thailand has had serious consequences for two individuals. Now on her Diamonds world tour, the 25-year-old singer spent some of her free time in between shows in Manila and Singapore, on the Thai island of Phuket, where she encountered a slow loris, an endangered primate species. PICS: Rihanna’s Sexiest, Most Scandalous Shots Rihanna posted a photo of her cuddling the animal (seen above), captioning it, “Look who was talkin dirty to me! #Thailand #nightlife.” While the Unapologetic singer relished the encounter, it wasn’t by happenstance, as the slow loris was reportedly presented to her by two people who were purportedly peddling the protected species for photo opportunities. “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,” Weera Kerdsirimongkon, a Phuket district chief, told The Associated Press. VIDEO: Exclusive: Behind Rihanna’s New Budweiser Ad According to the AP, Thai police confiscated the two lorises from the duo, a 20-year-old man and 16-year-old boy, who may face charges of possession of animals of a protected species. If convicted, they could serve up to a four-year prison sentence and pay a 40,000-baht ($1282) fine. The district chief, Kerdsirimongkon, told the AP that the exploitation of wildlife is something they’ve been trying to stop for years. “It’s like a cat-and-mouse game,” he said. “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.” Related stories on ETonline.com:

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Photograph: Joseph Nair/AP Thai police have arrested two people on suspicion of attempting to sell endangered wildlife after pop star Rihanna tweeted a photograph of herself clutching a protected primate on the resort island of Phuket. The 25-year-old singer, on a brief break from her Diamonds World tour, shared the Instagram self-portrait with her nearly 32 million fans and tweeted: “Look who was talking dirty to me!” The photograph shows a sunglass-sporting Rihanna holding up a slow loris, a furry primate with large eyes and a long tail, which is native to south-east Asia and a protected species in Thailand . Along with elephants and orang-utans, however, the loris is often peddled by touts as a photo opportunity for tourists. Authorities say they have long struggled to crack down on wildlife touts in the area, who they claim use spies to alert one another of police raids and avoid arrest. But the Thai government moved in quickly after Rihanna’s picture which has been retweeted tens of thousands of times and has more than 231,000 Instagram “likes” by ordering the ministry of natural resources and Phuket governor to set up a sting on Sunday night in the Bangla Road area of Patong beach. A 20-year-old man and 16-year-old were arrested during the raid and two lorises confiscated from their possession, local media reported. If charged, the pair could face up to four years in jail and a fine of 40,000 baht (800). “It’s like a cat-and-mouse game,” the Phuket district chief, Weera Kerdsirimongkon, told Associated Press. “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’s photo with the loris which has attracted criticism from wildlife activists was not the only picture to court controversy, however. After posing with the animal, the R&B star took a photo with a herd of elephants and later tweeted live from a sex show. Officials said such shows were against the law in Thailand. “The authorities and law officials have surveyed the area to arrest and fine those involved,” local district chief Veera Kerdsirimongkol told the Bangkok Post. “But the shows still happen.” After a weekend spent Instagramming photos of herself on a boat in a bikini, and then performing live in Singapore at the Formula One Grand Prix tournament, Rihanna headed to Australia and New Zealand to continue her tour.

Rihanna poses for controversial pic with protected primate

That didn’t sit well with authorities, who arrested two people for allegedly peddling 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 showed her in sunglasses snuggling up to a furry primate called the slow loris and was 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.” On the same night, she tweeted a few unprintable comments about what she apparently witnessed at an adult show in one of Phuket’s red-light districts. Saturday’s social media postings were devoted to the beach and photographs of the singer in a black bikini on a boat surrounded by turquoise water with limestone cliffs in the distance.