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Koh Chang hotel agrees to drop charges against American “if he issues public apology over his bad reviews”




A Koh Chang hotel has agreed to drop charges against an American if he issues a public apology over his bad TripAdvisor reviews. The American, Wesley Barnes, has agreed to the conditions put forward by Sea View Resort in exchange for avoiding up to 100,000 baht in fines and a possible jail time of up to 5 years. The hotel filed a libel complaint against Barnes in August after he published negatives reviews online with TripAdvisor which the hotel says were “false and defamatory”.

The bad reviews surfaced after Barnes and staff members disagreeing about a corkage fee in which Barnes brought in his own alcohol to the hotel’s restaurant. Barnes, however, continued to post multiple negative reviews about the staff which included racists remarks against a staff member. Hotel owners say those remarks caused staff to be threatened and the hotel to be defamed with some visitors cancelling their stays at the island resort.

Police detained Barnes under criminal defamation and computer crime laws for 2 days last month before releasing him on bail in a move that human rights activists point to the harsh and sweeping laws against defamation in Thailand.

Now, the hotel says if Barnes apologises by sending statements to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the US Embassy, TripAdvisor and to media outlets, it will drop the charges.

“Under conditions that Barnes shows his sincerity and takes full responsibility for what had happened and remedy the situation, the hotel will be delighted to drop the charge.”

Barnes says he would comply with the hotel’s wishes, but didn’t elaborate.

“I’m sending an email to many media outlets.”

Since the dispute began, both Barnes and the owners of Sea View have had a very public slanging match that has done little to help the reputation of either party. Read some more about the issue HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Apologies for what…Nobody never ever should apologies for his opinion. And why he actually should apologies to the TAT and the US embassy, they have nothing to do with this case. Its simply ridiculous.

    I hope this guy has the balls and the funds to fight this till the end. I normally not support any fundraisers but if he would set one up I would do it.

    This Hotel should be avoided at any cost.

    Thailand = Land of Scam. Time to leave this country as soon as the covid panic is over. LOS not deserves any foreign tourist bucks.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Don’t do it Mr Barnes.
    If the Thais go through with this prosecution they will invite the contempt of the world.
    Damage tourism, deter investment, and lower exports. I do not think the courts will prosecute.

  3. Avatar


    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Well noted resort’s name , will never spend a night in such a place…..!

  4. Avatar


    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 10:23 am

    It’s a meaningless apology at this point since the damage has been done. Not the damage from the review, but that of the decision to sue and to jail. The hotel reputation has been damaged far greater and more lasting by the decision to sue than by a stupid bad review. Same goes for that of Thailand and their poor decision to jail this jerk instead of choosing to mediate which they ended up doing anyway. Their draconian libel laws have once again made world wide news and not in a good way. If any of the three parties had chosen a different path this debacle would have been avoided. Unfortunately for all three they made the completely obvious bad choice.

  5. Avatar


    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Normally I’d think it’s ridiculous to involve the police over a review, but go read the other link with the letter from the resort describing the situation. I’m very inclined to side with the resort. The customer didn’t just leave a bad review, they left multiple bad reviews with fabricated stories in an apparent attempt to defame the resort.

    • Avatar

      Victor Peeke

      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      Agreed. Wholeheartedly. Mr. Barnes set out to slander, to defame this resort because he was upset at being asked to pay corkage for bringing in his own alcohol. What about bringing in your own sandwiches to the restaurant? Do you think that would be okay? This guy needs to grow up, and quickly. Those that say that they wouldn’t stay at this hotel are the ones that the hotel doesn’t need there. There are many of us who support the resort for standing up for their rights, and the livelihoods of their staff. You want to leave a criticism of a hotel, and i’ve left a few, make it constructive criticism, not destructive, slanderous, vindictive, and an on going vendetta. Go home Mr. Barnes, there’s enough ugly Americans, Brits, Aussies, etc. etc. Thailand doesn’t need you. You give a bad reputation to those of here who try to abide by the rules.

  6. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    The hotel should change name after such a bad publicity. They are heavily discounting on Agoda right now but I would not go there for 1 THB/night (risk to be sued is too high).

  7. Avatar


    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Don’t do it. It send the wrong signal to other hotel owners who think they are above freedom of speech. There is no way they prosecute someone about something thks redicolous in times like these.

    • Avatar

      Tony Grace

      Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 10:00 pm

      It’s Thailand.They get it wrong they say misunderstanding sorry you get it wrong you must pay compensation for thinking we wrong,u

  8. Avatar


    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    “Hotel owners say those remarks caused staff to be threatened and the hotel to be defamed with some visitors cancelling their stays at the island resort.”

    This is what happend AFTER they blew out this case out of proportion. Disgusting liars.

  9. Avatar

    Pieter Wilhelm

    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Please inform yourself! This is not about only a bad review on Trip advisor this guy (whos criminal record can be easily obtained through a Google search) started an online crusade and posted numerous lies about this resort on multiple platforms, The resort should not have offered him to drop the charges but let him rot in jail as he deserved for his despicable actions

    • Avatar


      Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Hope they go bankrupt. Prison for leaving a bad hotel review. Whey to go Thailand for another nail in the tourist industry. You should be looking after your tourist industry. You do know this story has gone global, right?

  10. Avatar

    Tim Houston

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 12:23 am

    This American guy or the Hotel are not to blame, what should be blamed is the Thai police and Thai system for being so ruthless to put someone in prison over a bad review on the internet. Now the Hotel is trying to exploit this abrupt system to bully this American guy which is even more disgusting on their part.

  11. Avatar


    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Sure just put mentally ill people into jail including the genius who decided to turn a meaningless crusader into a martyr.

  12. Avatar


    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 10:54 am

    I am a Hotel GM and this is complete nonsense of the resort to do this.
    People are entitled to their opinion and by them fighting this has proven the gentlemen’s comment to be accurate on the property’s poor service and aggressive temper towards guests.

    They have taken a simple poor review and now will completely discredited themselves as a property anyone wants to visit.

    Me personally I will boycott this place and tell anyone as well to not visit such a hostile resort and inconsiderate team.

  13. Avatar


    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    So bad hotel!

  14. Avatar

    Ed Jones

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    The guy had an axe to grind, as we wanted to bring his own booze to the restaurant. He sounds like he may be cheap. I know restaurants where I live, don’t allow you to bring your own drink. Hey, might as well bring your own food too right? When did he do his bad reviews of the hotel? After he got mad, that they would not allow him to bring in his own beverage. Best way to get back at them (after he’s probably had too much to drink) is to write a slanderous review.

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