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Man Jailed For Leaving Negative Tripadvisor Review For Thailand Resort

From Thailand resort to last resort…

Credit: Sea View Koh Chang

Wesley Barnes, an American man living and working in Thailand, posted several unsatisfied reviews after a brief holiday to the Sea View Resort on the island of Koh Chang. Within a matter of months, he was facing charges of upwards of $3,160, and possible prison time.

Wesley Barnes, a teacher working in Thailand visited the Sea View resort for a quick getaway, but got far more than he bargained for.

“Do not sleep here! Don’t support modern day slavery of Thai people! The staff are not friendly because of their management. The foreigners treat the staff like slaves” Barnes’ first review following his stay read. 

“The restaurant manager was the worst. He is from the Czech Republic. He is extremely rude and impolite to guests.”

“Avoid this place as if it was the coronavirus!” Barnes’ final review read.

Credit: Sea View Koh Chang

Barnes was later contacted by Koh Chang authorities, threatening legal action should he refuse to remove the negative reviews. As an American unaware of Thailand’s strict defamation laws, Barnes took these to be empty threats. Within 24 hours, he was arrested and detained with a bail of 100,000 Baht (equivalent to roughly $3,160).

A “friend of a friend” of Barnes’ contacted him, asking for a comment in a now-viral Twitter thread.

According to Barnes’ testimony, he and a friend showed up at the resort without a reservation and took issue with the fact they were asked to leave and look online for details, prices, and bookings. 

After some persistence, the pair were granted a room and proceeded to drink alcohol on the beach, getting into an altercation with staff regarding the corkage charge for bringing said bottle back into the hotel premises. Barnes also writes that he witnessed a manager “yelling and acting very aggressive” towards another employee, suggested to be the final nail in the coffin in his decision to give the resort a poor review. 

However, as Barrow’s Twitter thread says, there are two sides to every story, as the Sea View Resort released their own version of events leading up to the arrest.

In a Google Document providing evidence and timelines, the Sea View Resort explained their version of events, in which Barnes was a rude, xenophobic, and obsessive individual who had refused the resort’s attempts at peaceful negotiation regarding the reviews. 

“Highlighting our managers nationality serves no purposes other than to push a stereotypical narrative and is entirely xenophobic.” The statement reads. 

“We agree that using a defamation law may be viewed as excessive for this situation. However, the guest refused to respond to our attempts at communication and instead continued to persistently post negative and untrue reviews of our business.”

According to Bangkok news outlets, Barnes could be facing a maximum of a 200,000 Baht ($6,333) fine, and two years in prison.

Believe it or not, this still isn’t the worst holiday arrest to have happened as of late- you won’t believe what this Irish tourist did while on holiday!

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