By Tara Rippin • 09 October 2020 • 15:22
American avoids jail in Thailand over negative resort review posted on Tripadvisor.
Wesley Barnes posted several unflattering comments about a recent visit to the Sea View Resort, allegedly accusing them of “modern day slavery”.
The resort owner filed a complaint and Barnes was arrested by immigration police and charged under Thailand’s strict anti-defamation laws.
If found guilty, Mr Barnes faced up to two years in prison together with a maximum fine of 200,000 baht (€5,440).
However, Koh Chang police said the disgruntled traveller and the resort had reached an agreement, which included an apology to the hotel and to Thailand’s tourism authority.
He also sent a statement to foreign media outlets that had covered his arrest at the time in which he apologised for his “repeatedly false and untrue statements… made to maliciously defame Sea View. These reviews were written out of anger and malice”.
He said he regrets his actions, adding that “the hotel has forgiven me and agreed to withdraw the complaint,” reports the BBC, one of the news organisations which received the statement.
According to the hotel resort, the American caused “damage to the reputation of the hotel”, and argued with staff over not paying a corkage fee for alcohol brought to the hotel.
Mr Barnes has apparently lost his job over the incident and expressed worries that the publicity his case had received would make it harder to find new employment.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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