An American working and living in Thailand Wesley Barns published a few weeks ago several critical reviews of Sea View Resort on Koh Chang Island.
Barnes thought he received 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 hotel filed a criminal complaint against the man after the online writings and Barnes was arrested. He was accused of causing damage to the hotel’s reputation.
Two years in prison were threatened
Thailand has very strict defamation laws and Barnesia faced a maximum of two years in prison.
A negotiated solution has now been reached. The American man had to humble himself in police-supervised talks between him and the hotel, writes AFP news agency.
Barnes has publicly apologized to the hotel and the Thai tourist authorities.
– I published several false writings that were meant to maliciously tarnish the reputation of the Sea View Hotel. I did them in my anger and in my malice, Barnes writes.
He says he regrets his actions.
Lost his job
Barnes says he has lost his job in Thailand as a result of the incident.
The hotel also suffered. After the negative reviews written by Barnes were published, several customers had canceled their reservations, writes BBC.
The hotel says it is already in trouble due to the corona pandemic.
Sie View Resort says it has filed a lawsuit against Barnes as a deterrent to stop criticizing the hotel on online sites.
Thailand’s harsh defamation laws have been criticized. Human rights organizations and defenders of the freedom of the press, among others, claim that those in power and those in a stronger position use laws to suppress free expression.