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Koh Chang resort sues expat over bad review

Koh Chang resort sues expat over bad review

TRAT: An American resident of Thailand is being sued by a Koh Chang resort for giving it a bad review online, and could face up to two years in prison if found guilty.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 26 September 2020, 05:05PM

Sea View Resort on Koh Chang has a high proportion of “excellent” ratings on Tripadvisor, but one bad review in particular has angered the owners. Photo: Post File Photo

Sea View Resort on Koh Chang has a high proportion of “excellent” ratings on Tripadvisor, but one bad review in particular has angered the owners. Photo: Post File Photo

A recent visit to the Sea View Resort on the island in Trat province landed Wesley Barnes in trouble after he wrote unflattering reviews about his holiday on Tripadvisor, one of the world’s most popular vacation review portals, Bangkok Post reports.

“The Sea View Resort owner filed a complaint that the defendant had posted unfair reviews on his hotel on the Tripadvisor website,” Col Thanapon Taemsara of the Koh Chang police told AFP.

He said Mr 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 he had brought to the hotel.

Mr Barnes, who works in Thailand, was arrested by immigration police and returned to Koh Chang where he was briefly detained and then freed on bail.

According to the Tripadvisor review Mr Barnes posted in July, he encountered “unfriendly staff” who “act like they don’t want anyone here”.

Mr Barnes and the Sea View Resort did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sea View, a 156-room resort on Kai Bae Beach was founded in 1989 and is ranked 10th out of 85 properties on Koh Chang that have been reviewed on TripAdvisor. It has received 1,922 reviews, with 1,090 of them rating the resort excellent, 580 very good, 170 average, 48 poor and 32 terrible.

QSI International School Phuket

Defamation laws in Thailand have long been seen as problematic, as they are frequently used by businesses and influential figures to intimidate critics.

The maximum sentence under the law is two years in prison, along with a 200,000-baht fine.

One example that stands out in Thailand involves the Lop Buri poultry farm Thammakaset Co Ltd, a supplier to the agribusiness giant Betagro. A complaint filed in 2016 with the National Human Rights Commission alleged that migrant workers at the farm were forced to work up to 20 hours a day, were paid less than the minimum wage and had their identity documents confiscated.

The Department of Labour Protection and Welfare in August 2016 ordered Thammakaset to pay the workers 1.7 million baht in compensation and damages, but the money was not handed over until 2019.

The retribution has been incessant. Thammakaset over the past four years has filed 39 criminal and civil complaints against 22 individuals including migrant workers, journalists, human rights defenders and one media company.

In December 2019, a court in Lop Buri sentenced Suchanee Cloitre, then working for Voice TV, to two years in prison for criminal libel for a comment she tweeted about the grievances against the company. She is free on bail pending an appeal.

Her conviction stemmed from her use of the words “slave labour” in a report on the compensation order.

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Paulnou | 28 September 2020 - 22:11:08

the police over reacted for sure the hotel was also surprised to hear about the guy in prison for such, its potentially as well a mistake matter of the police and judge trying to teach a farang how to behave here, a local would have never been that hardly hit, though that cow bow went very far in defaming according detailed reports. not good for all sides especially for Thailand and the tourism 

Paulnou | 28 September 2020 - 22:04:16

@little tommytucker, it has also 1700 good and great reviews only on trip, have a look on other site, y cant get 4 and 5* without being real good

Wiesel | 28 September 2020 - 10:58:26

JohnC, you should know the full story behind before you blame the resort.

Pascale | 28 September 2020 - 09:44:07

Bringing his own drink to a restaurant and complains about being charged a corkage fee ? What a cheap Charlie ! 

Little Tommy Tucker | 27 September 2020 - 20:58:11

It had 32 terrible reviews. All by Mr Barnes?

Hermann1 | 27 September 2020 - 18:03:53

Kurt is right.This incident we can read about soon all over the Internet. Another example how they try to hide the truth. 

Galong | 27 September 2020 - 17:17:50

The losers include the Sea View Resort (wow, what an original name), tourism in Thailand, the government, and probably the complainer. Good. They all deserve a slap of reality.

CaptainJack69 | 27 September 2020 - 12:14:02

Lets not forget that now defunct Phuket based news website which spent years in the courts over comments about the Rohingya situation, which has since become major international news with millions of people in refugee camps. Yes, Thailand's various laws restricting freedoms of speech are oppressive and desperately need changing.

JohnC | 27 September 2020 - 11:35:56

How sad is that resort. If you can't cope with criticism then provide decent service to guests or get out of the industry altogether. Nothing worse than places that think they are better than they really are. Pathetic!!!

maverick | 27 September 2020 - 10:10:28

This report is misleading - this was not a single review - this individual bombed Trip Advisor and google with negative reviews despite attempts (allegedly) by the resort to reach out to the guest to resolve matter - and this was despite the original dispute over a corkage charge being resolved in the guests favor- won’t end well for either party - but PN could at least report the facts 

Kurt | 27 September 2020 - 00:11:36

The international foreign press reacted that this affair is not just a civil matter but that with help RTP it became a 'criminal affair', violating signed international treaties freedom of thinking/speech. This works out negative for that Resort and Thai tourism  in it's whole. Wait for the boomerang effect.

LALALA | 26 September 2020 - 18:40:53

So another reason not to visit LOS and especially not the Sea View Resort on Koh Chang. Looking at this story going viral and their business to the bin.


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