To put things into perspective (not the core competence of many news outlets these days, I guess) - Thailand did not just introduce a death penalty clause for spotting.
Thailand did pass a new air traffic safety law a while ago, aiming at people who intentionally disturb air traffic with drones or laser pointers, posing a real threat to aviation safety.
The ultimate punishment under that law is the death penalty, which probably would be applied if you indeed manage to crash an airliner and get people killed.
Now they set up a new security zone at Phuket beach. Stupidly enough, it's not a no-access-zone, but only a no-photo-zone. Why a person with a camera is supposed to be more distracting to a crew of an incoming airliner than a person without a camera remains a mystery, but that's the status quo.
Enforcing that security zone falls under above mentioned already existing air traffic safety law. Which did include mentioned punishments even before the safety zone was erected. Much as it makes for a good headline, there is no new "take photos here and we will shoot you on the spot" clause.
AFAIK, Thailand executed only 1 person in the last decade. I'd be very surprised to see that number suddenly skyrocketing because spotters.
Still, the no-photo zone alone is enough for me to let the place lose its appeal. Especially since it doesn't make sense. Close the beach to the public over safety concerns - okay, I don't like it, but I see the point. Leave the beach open to the public, but ban photography - wtf?
Yes, the new EU copyright directive is that stupid.