American sued in Thailand over negative Tripadviser review

Domestic tourism is still happening in Thailand with locals and expats heading to near-empty resorts to enjoy sandy beaches and turquoise waters. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 26 September 2020

American sued in Thailand over negative Tripadviser review

  • ‘We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future’

BANGKOK: An American has been sued by an island resort in Thailand over a negative TripAdviser review, authorities said Saturday, and could face up to two years in prison if found guilty.
Domestic tourism is still happening in Thailand, where coronavirus numbers are relatively low, with locals and expats heading to near-empty resorts — including Koh Chang island, famed for its sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
But a recent visit to the Sea View Resort on the island landed Wesley Barnes in trouble after he wrote unflattering online reviews about his holiday.
“The Sea View Resort owner filed a complaint that the defendant had posted unfair reviews on his hotel on the Tripadviser website,” Col. Thanapon Taemsara of Koh Chang police said.
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.
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 Tripadviser review Barnes posted in July, he encountered “unfriendly staff” who “act like they don’t want anyone here.”
The Sea View Resort said legal action was only taken because Barnes had penned multiple reviews on different sites over the past few weeks.
At least one was posted in June on Tripadviser accusing the hotel of “modern day slavery” — which the site removed after a week for violating its guidelines.
“We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future,” the hotel said, adding that staff had attempted to contact Barnes before filing the complaint.
Barnes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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 200,000 baht ($6,300) fine.
Earlier this year, a Thai journalist was sentenced to two years in prison for posting a tweet referencing a dispute over working conditions at a chicken farm owned by the Thammakaset company.


TWITTER POLL: World Health Organisation blamed for COVID-19 pandemic mismanagement

Updated 22 October 2020

TWITTER POLL: World Health Organisation blamed for COVID-19 pandemic mismanagement

  • Most blamed the World Health Organisation, but many others said there was no one clear factor to blame
  • The poll received a mixed message from people torn between blaming individuals and the establishment

DUBAI: Nearly half of the respondents to an Arab News Twitter poll said the World Health Organisation (WHO) was to blame for the failure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been 41.3 million cases of COVID-19, of which 1.13 million people have died – 28.1 million have so far recovered.

The year 2020 has seen a pandemic that brought nations to their knees as governments imposed lockdowns, and rules requiring people to wear masks, not to see loved ones and to work from home where possible

The mental health of the world’s population has been pushed to limits never experienced before in our lifetimes with isolation being one of the biggest factors.

Everyone has their views on how the pandemic has been handled, but few seem to agree on who is responsible.

 

 

The Arab News Twitter poll saw 44.9 percent blame the WHO for failing to manage the situation, while 17 percent blamed irresponsible members of the public who refuse to follow the guidelines and rules.

Just 6.5 percent said it was the fault of local authorities – but 31.6 percent said it was a combination of all three.

“I disagree with irresponsible citizens.... In the grand scheme the population has been very very compliant.... only the odd person wears no mask in stores ... you can’t blame the pandemic on a minute proportion of the population... The WHO and UN are to blame,” tweeted @Roofershound.

 

 

But others said a lack of consistent leadership was the biggest problem.

“The UK HMG has significant blame in spreading the disease because it was just a cold from Dec to April via their standard NHS policy of bed clearing elderly patients "medically fit" but with a cold to NHS funded respite & palliative beds. Killing an extra 20K via cross infection,” tweeted @AJamesW2.

 

 

The pandemic has – like this poll – split opinion globally – some support a lockdown, many say people should wear masks – it’s the law in some parts of the world and then others say their civil liberties have been taken with all these restrictions.

“ Some people’s definition of their rights and democracy is the same as a five year old cry babe “no, I don’t want to wear a mask,” @ArabNewsFriends added.

 

 

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