Wesley Barnes, an American that lives in Thailand, was sent to jail after he posted negative reviews on TripAdvisor about Sea View Koh Chang resort.
The dispute began when Barnes, a hotel guest, objected to paying a $15 corkage fee to drink from a bottle of gin that he brought to the hotel restaurant. The fee was waived. After the encounter, that’s when Barnes went on TripAdvisor and Google condemning the resort, saying there was a master/slave mentality going on, after he saw the manager harshly criticizing an employee.
The resort repeatedly asked him to remove the reviews and went to the police after Barnes ignored their request. The Sea View Koh Chang resort decided to “protect its right” by filing a criminal complaint.
The resort says they are willing to drop the lawsuit when conditions are met -Barnes must take full responsibility for what happened and remedy the situation.
“After all conditions are met, the hotel will then withdraw the charges against the offender,” said Col. Kissana Phathanacharoen, deputy spokesperson for Royal Thai Police.
In his apology, Barnes expressed gratitude to the resort for allowing him to avoid prison time.
“All the statements that I made are completely untrue. These reviews and comments were written out of anger and malice. Now, I, Mr. Barnes, have regretted my actions and would like to apologize to Sea View Koh Chang, and its staff,” said Banes in a statement, reported by the New York Times.
In Thailand, criminal defamation charges can result in prison time of up to two years.