Tourist faces prison sentence for TripAdvisor hotel review in Thailand

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An American faces two years in jail after writing negative online reviews of a Thai hotel – including accusing the company of “modern slavery,” according to reports.Wesley Barnes, who works in Thailand, has been arrested for allegedly damaging the reputation of the Sea View Resort on the island of Koh Chang, the Telegraph reported.

Barnes has reportedly written reviews on several sites in which he claimed to have dealt with “unfriendly employees” who “act like they don’t want anyone here” during a recent visit to the popular resort.

At least one TripAdvisor review accusing the hotel of “modern slavery” has been removed for violating site guidelines, the report said.

“The owner of the Sea View Resort has filed a complaint that the accused posted unfair reviews of his hotel on the TripAdvisor website,” Koh Chang Police Col. Thanapon Taemsara told the agency. Frances-Presse.

The hotel said it had taken legal action against the former guest to prevent further comments from being posted.

“We chose to file a complaint to have a deterrent effect, as we understood that he could continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future,” the hotel said.

In addition to the unflattering reviews, Barnes has also been accused of fighting with staff over not paying corkage fees for alcohol, according to the report.

Barnes was taken into custody and returned to Koh Chang, where he was briefly held before being released on bail, the outlet reported.

If convicted, Barnes could face up to two years in prison and a fine of $ 6,329 (or 200,000 baht), according to the report.

He did not respond to the request for comment, AFP reported.

Thailand is known for its anti-defamation laws, which have long been criticized by human rights groups.

In December 2019, a Thai journalist was sentenced to two years in prison for criticizing a chicken farm on Twitter.

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