An American expat has been sued by an island resort in Thailand over a negative Tripadvisor review, authorities said Saturday, and could face up to two years in prison if found guilty.A recent visit to the Sea View Resort on the island made Wesley Barnes in trouble after he wrote unfavorable online reviews about his holiday. The hotel asked him to delete the review, and when he refused, a police report was filed. This caused the man to be arrested.
“The Sea View Resort owner filed a complaint that the defendant had posted unfair reviews on his hotel on the Tripadvisor website,” Colonel Thanapon Taemsara of Koh Chang police told.He said Barnes was accused of causing “damage to the reputation of the hotel”, and of quarrelling with staff over not paying a corkage fee for alcohol brought to the hotel.The man was reportedly detained by immigration police, before being freed on bail.
According to the resort, the man had posted multiple reviews on different sites over the past few weeks, one of which was posted in June and accused the hotel of ‘modern day slavery’.Thailand’s notorious anti-defamation laws have long drawn scrutiny from human rights and press freedom groups, who say powerful players use it as a weapon to stifle free expression.The maximum sentence is two years in prison, along with a fine of around €5,000.