Pop star Rihanna has inadvertently helped police in Thailand crack down on the illegal animal trade after a picture showing her posing with a protected primate prompted a series of arrests.
The Umbrella hitmaker enjoyed a short vacation in Phuket last week (ends22Sep13) while on a break from her Diamonds world tour, and she documented her trip in pictures posted on her Twitter and Instagram.com pages.
One shot posted on Friday (20Sep13) showed Rihanna posing with a slow loris, a local squirrel-like creature which is listed as a protected species, and the snap prompted an investigation into whether the animals are being illegally used as a tourist attraction.
Thai police arrested two men, aged 20 and 16, on suspicion of possessing protected animals on Saturday night (21Sep13), according to the Associated Press,
Phuket district chief, Weera Kerdsirimongkon, says, "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... 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."
The unnamed suspects face up to four years in prison and a fine if found guilty.
Rihanna flew out of Thailand on Saturday.