Working and living in Thailand Wesley Barns published several critical reviews of Sea View Resort on Koh Chang Island.
Domestic tourism in Thailand is still alive despite the corona, with locals and foreigners living in the country visiting fairly empty beach resorts, among other places.
American Barnes got what he thought was poor service. The controversy originally arose from the fact that Barnes brought his own bottle of alcohol to the hotel restaurant, which was allowed. However, he did not want to pay the required opening fee for it.
The payment was eventually canceled when the restaurant’s shift manager was invited to the scene.
Damage to the hotel’s reputation
Barnes wrote to Tripadvisor that he encountered “unfriendly staff” at the hotel who behaved “as if they didn’t want anyone to be in the hotel”.
He also wrote for several other online columns about the hotel in a negative tone.
– The owner of the Sea View Resort has sued the tourist because he had published unfair reviews of his hotel, says the colonel Thanapon taemsara Koh Chang Island Police to the news agency AFP.
Police say Barnes is accused of causing damage to the hotel’s reputation.
Immigration police arrested Barnes when he returned from the island to his home. He was taken back to Koh Chang, where he was imprisoned for a short time, but was released after paying the required guarantees.
The hotel uses the challenge as a deterrent
Sea View Resort has also commented on the case.
– We hope that the lawsuit will act as a deterrent. We believe Barnes could continue to write negative reviews from week to week, the hotel said.
Thailand has very strict defamation laws. Human rights organizations and those defending the freedom of the press, among others, claim that those in power and those in a stronger position use laws to suppress free expression.
Barnes can get a maximum of two years in prison if he is found guilty.