Monday, March 1, 2021

Thai police arrest tourist for grumpy TripAdvisor review

American refused to pay corkage on alcohol he brought to the hotel.

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An American could face up to two years behind bars after leaving a negative review about a Thai hotel on TripAdvisor.

Although international tourists are banned, domestic tourism is still happening in Thailand, where coronavirus numbers are low.

Thais and expats can enjoy the normally crowded beaches, staying at near-empty resorts.

American Wesley Barnes, who currently lives and works in Thailand, took a vacation on Koh Chang island in July, staying at the Sea View Resort.

After his stay he posted a review on TripAdvisor saying he had encountered “unfriendly staff” who “act like they don’t want anyone here”.

Reports indicate that he posted similar negative reviews on other online sites.

“We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week,” the hotel said, adding that staff had attempted to contact Barnes before filing the complaint with local police.

“The Sea View Resort owner filed a complaint that the defendant had posted unfair reviews on his hotel on the TripAdvisor website,” Colonel Thanapon Taemsara of Koh Chang police told AFP.

He said Barnes was accused of causing “damage to the reputation of the hotel”, and of quarrelling with staff over not paying a corkage fee for alcohol he brought in to the hotel.

Barnes was arrested by immigration police and taken back to Koh Chang where he was briefly detained and then freed on bail.

It is not known when his case will come to court.

Comments on social media suggest that if you wish to post negative reviews about your holiday experiences in Thailand, it is definitely better to wait until you get back home before you do so.

Barnes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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