American Apologizes for Dangerous Opinions of Thailand Lodge to Keep away from Jail
BANGKOK – Sorry. But a hotel in Thailand that has threatened to send an American visitor to prison for his or her negative comments could be regretted.
Wesley Barnes, an American visitor, apologized publicly on Friday for his Sea View Koh Chang online reviews in Thailand. Similarly, the hotel promised to remove the complaint that prompted Thai government officials to file false charges.
More than the injured pride was on the line. In Thailand, criminal charges can carry up to two years in prison. Barnes had already spent two days in jail on charges pending last month’s bail.
The question now at the Sea View resort – as well as the Thai tourism industry, which is suffering from the effects of the coronavirus epidemic – seems to stem from the catastrophic damage to its reputation by threatening Mr. Barnes is a prisoner. The resort, on the island of Koh Chang on the southeastern coast of Thailand, was entertained online by the use of strict curfews to discredit a visitor who did not want to stay home and consider writing.
Mr. Barnes spoke differently Friday, in a statement that filled the official language symbolizing compulsory confession.
“What I have said is not a lie,” he said in a statement. “These comments and comments were written out of anger and resentment. Now, Mr. Barnes, I am sorry for what I have done and I want to apologize to Sea View Koh Chang, and his colleagues.”
According to the hotel’s establishment, Barnes also sent the statement to reporters reporting his case, including The New York Times. He apologized “for my false / illuminating material that I have been doing to tarnish Sea View Koh Chang.”
Kitti Maleehuan, Koh Chang’s police chief, whose office brought charges, attended a rally on Thursday, according to police.
The resort on Koh Chang Island, an hour-long flight from Bangkok, said via email to resolve their concerns if Barnes complies with the agreement reached by October 30.
“Once everything is in place, the hotel will resolve the grievances,” said Col. Kissana Phathanacharoen, deputy to the Royal Thai Police spokesperson.
Mr. Barnes did not respond to a request for comment.
The arrest of Mr. Barnes is filing a lawsuit last month over comments he posted on TripAdvisor and Google surprised many travelers, who have been free to register their comments in Thailand and elsewhere.
The move also raised doubts in the minds of Thai authorities over allegations that Thailand is trying to revive its tourism industry.
One of the ways in which the government is taking action is to encourage citizens, including foreigners such as Mr. Barnes, who lives in Thailand, to travel in the country. Tourism is responsible for about one fifth of the country’s economy.
Human rights activists have been criticizing Thailand’s anti-corruption law, which could lead to criminal prosecution and is sometimes used by companies to block protesters.
The dispute began in June when Mr. Barnes, a guest at the hotel, refused to pay what he considered to be $ 15 just for the bottle of gin he had brought to the hotel. The manager later withdrew the money.
Barnes said in a statement shortly after his arrest that he saw the same manager later criticizing the employee and thought “there was a boss / slave idea going on.”
This prompted him to post a number of erroneous answers on TripAdvisor and Google, including the one he wrote, “Avoid this site as if it were a Coronavirus!”
The hotel said it had repeatedly asked her to write a review and post their self-defense online. The hotel said it had no choice but to go to Mr. Barnes ignored his request.
The “comment” included in the agreement said Sea View had decided in August to “protect its rights” in interpreting the case.
“This idea was not taken lightly by the management team,” he said.
The settlement required Barnes to sincerely apologize for his response, including references to “slave use, comments about killing guests against hotel staff, and comparing the hotel with the coronavirus several times as well as website content.”
In his remarks, Barnes thanked the hotel for allowing him to escape from prison.
“The hotel has pardoned me and has agreed to remove the complaint,” the statement said. “I sincerely thank the hotel and staff and have had the opportunity to make this public announcement public.”