US man avoids Thai jail over dangerous resort assessment

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Getty Images

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File photograph of a vacationer resort in Koh Chang, Thailand

A US man in Thailand who was arrested for writing a unfavorable lodge assessment will keep away from authorized motion and jail time.

Wesley Barnes had posted a number of critiques allegedly accusing the Sea View Resort of “modern-day slavery”.

He was subsequently detained and charged beneath Thailand’s strict anti-defamation legal guidelines.

Police stated Mr Barnes and the resort had managed to succeed in an settlement, which included an apology to the lodge and to Thailand’s tourism authority.

Colonel Kitti Maleehuan, superintendent of the Koh Chang police station – the island the place the resort is situated – informed the AFP information company that each events had met over a mediation session overseen by police.

Mr Barnes may even have to supply “an evidence to the US embassy”, stated AFP – although it didn’t elaborate.

The lodge stated it might withdraw its grievance in opposition to Mr Barnes if he met all these phrases.

Mr Barnes had forward of the mediation session informed information company Reuters that he wished to “finish this case as soon as and for all”.

If discovered responsible, he may have confronted as much as two years in jail.

‘Fabricated, recurrent and malicious’

Mr Barnes, who works in Thailand, had stayed within the Sea View resort earlier this 12 months.

He is alleged to have gotten into an argument with workers over him eager to convey his personal bottle of alcohol whereas eating within the restaurant.

A lodge assertion stated he had “triggered a commotion” and refused to pay a corkage price which was ultimately waived when the supervisor intervened.

Since leaving, Mr Barnes posted a number of unfavorable critiques of the property, after which the lodge sued him for defamation.

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Sea View Koh Chang

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The lodge stated the critiques had been “false” and “defamatory”

The lodge has alleged that his critiques had been “fabricated, recurrent, and malicious”, with one submit on TripAdvisor accusing the lodge of “modern-day slavery”.

Mr Barnes, although, had earlier informed the BBC that this explicit submit was by no means revealed because it violated TripAdvisor’s tips.

He additionally stated he had already misplaced his job over the incident and expressed worries that the publicity his case had obtained would make it more durable to search out new employment.

The lodge informed the BBC that after the critiques had been revealed, it had obtained cancellations and inquiries about worker remedy.

Thailand’s tourism sector has been hit arduous by the fallout of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

“Receiving a number of false and defamatory critiques over a interval will be extraordinarily damaging, particularly, throughout these extremely troublesome occasions,” the assertion from the lodge stated.

They added that that they had repeatedly tried to contact Mr Barnes earlier than they filed the go well with.

“We selected to file a grievance to function a deterrent, as we understood he could proceed to jot down unfavorable critiques week after week for the foreseeable future,” they stated.

“Despite our a number of efforts to contact him to resolve the matter in an amicable method for nicely over a month, he selected to disregard us utterly. He solely replied to us when he had been notified of our grievance by the authorities.”

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