Bill Handel

Bill Handel

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Man Faces 2 Years in Thailand Prison for Posting Negative Hotel Reviews

An American tourist visiting Thailand is facing two years in prison after posting bad reviews of one of the country's hotels...

Thailand's Sea View Resort has filed a complaint against Wesley Barnes, claiming he's hurt business by posting "multiple reviews across different sites" that criticize the hotel.

"The staff was not friendly. Nobody could smile,” reads a Tripadvisor review written by Barnes. "The restaurant manager was very rude and full of himself. There are other hotels with better-friendlier staff. Avoid this place as if it was the coronavirus!"

Koh Chang police took Barnes into custody and later released him on bail pending his first court appearance, according Police Colonel Thanapon Taemsara. Per Thailand's anti-defamation laws, Barnes could be sentenced to two years behind bars and fined about $6,315 for his comments.

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

The statement continued: “We simply want to ensure that these untrue reviews are stopped, and we had no way of negotiating the matter with the guest until after our filing the complaint with authorities.”

TripAdvisor officials responded, saying they're "opposed to the idea that a traveler can be prosecuted for expressing opinions."

Read the full report on the New York Times.

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