The last thing you want to do as a tourist in a third world country is to go around behaving obnoxiously and pissing off the locals, as one American traveler has discovered this week.
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According to the Asia Times, a man named Wesley Barnes is facing 2 years in prison over negative reviews he left for a Thailand hotel. He is being sued by Sea View Resort & Spa Koh Chang after penning a negative post with a one-star review on Tripadvisor, and then writing further negative reviews across multiple different sites, denouncing its business.
Here is the actual review:
And the one that was deleted from TripAdvisor, along with the arrest report:
Thailand’s defamation laws are very severe, in particular when it comes to online content. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of a friend was arrested at his school for posting a one star review on Google maps about a resort he visited on Koh Chang. Yes, you heard right [THREAD] pic.twitter.com/18YDRoWit1
— Richard Barrow in Thailand 🇹🇭🇬🇧 (@RichardBarrow) September 26, 2020
And this one too in which Wesley accuses the hotel of ‘modern day slavery’. Oof:
So just to break down Wesley Blake’s complaints and understand them better, it really comes down to three things he had a massive problem with:
1. The staff weren’t smiling at him.
2. The restaurant manager (who happens to be from the Czech Republic) is ‘really bad’.
3. He hates the idea of having to pay a corkage fee for his own booze.
If you’re unfamiliar with number 3, lots of restaurants, especially at resorts, will charge you a fee if you want to bring your own bottle to drink on their premises. In this case the corkage fee was 500 Baht (£12.30). It looks like Wesley went into such a meltdown when asked to pay the fee that the management waived it for him so as to avoid further disturbance. But he STILL went and left them a negative review!
Still, whether Wesley had an awful experience or not, 2 years in a Thai prison seems a bit much for leaving a negative review. Then again this is Thailand we’re talking about. You really think they’re going to put up with some random American destroying a hotel’s reputation with the amount of tourism they get all year round?
According to a Facebook post by Wesley’s mate, the Thai authorities drove him 250km to a jail where he spent the weekend before bailing out:
Trip Advisor has paused reviews for the Sea View Resort & Spa Koh Chang, and also released the following statement:
Tripadvisor is opposed to the idea that a traveler can be prosecuted for expressing opinions. Thankfully, on a global basis, prosecutions like this are rare and hundreds of millions of travelers are able to express themselves freely without facing criminal charges.
I’m sure that’s very reassuring for Wesley B. Meanwhile, the resort itself has issued a full statement here defending their position. Apparently comparing their business to ‘modern day slavery’ really annoyed them. Who would have thunk it?
For the British tourist who underwent emergency treatment after ripping his penis during ‘ferocious’ sex with a Thai prostitute, click HERE.