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szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen -> 
Man sued over negative Tripadvisor review
    2020-10-01  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

An American has been sued by an island resort in Thailand over a negative TripAdvisor review, authorities said last week, 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 Tripadvisor website,” said Colonel Thanapon Taemsara of Koh Chang police.

He said Barnes was accused of causing “damage to the reputation of the hotel,” after 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 Tripadvisor 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 Tripadvisor 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.

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 (US$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.

Words to Learn 相关词汇

【蓝绿色的】 lánlǜsè de turquoise bluish green in color

【开瓶费】kāipíngfèi corkage the charge made by some restaurants for allowing customers to drink wine that has been bought from somewhere else

泰国当局上周表示,一名美国人因在猫途鹰旅游网站发表负面评论而被泰国一家岛屿度假酒店起诉,如果罪名成立,他可能面临最高两年的监禁。

泰国新冠肺炎确诊病例相对较低,不少游客选择在国内旅游,当地人和外籍人士纷纷前往几乎无人的度假胜地,其中包括以沙滩和碧绿海水闻名的象岛。

但韦斯利?巴恩斯最近在岛上的海景度假酒店居住后遇到了麻烦,因为他在网上对这家酒店发表了一些差评。

象岛警方的塔纳朋?泰姆萨拉上校告诉法新社:“海景度假酒店的老板投诉被告在猫途鹰旅游网站上发布了不公平的评论。”

他说,巴恩斯被指控“损害了酒店的声誉”,还因未能支付自带酒水的开瓶费而与员工发生争执。

巴恩斯在泰国工作,他被移民警察逮捕并押送回象岛。他在那里被短暂拘留,然后被保释。

今年7月份,巴恩斯在猫途鹰旅游网站发布评论称,他遇到了“不友好的员工”,他们“表现得好像不希望任何客人来”。

海景度假酒店表示,之所以采取法律行动,是因为巴恩斯在过去几周内在不同的网站上发表了多篇评论。

今年6月,他曾在猫途鹰网站发帖指责这家酒店实行“现代奴隶制”,该网站在一周以违反规定为由将帖子删除。

该酒店表示:“我们选择投诉是为了起到威慑作用,因为我们知道,今后他可能会不停地发表负面评论。”酒店还表示,员工在投诉前曾试图联系巴恩斯。

泰国饱受争议的反诽谤法长期以来一直受到人权和新闻自由组织的密切关注,这些组织说,有权势的人物用它来扼杀言论自由。

巴恩斯最高将面临两年监禁,以及20万泰铢(约合6300美元)的罚款。

今年早些时候,一名泰国记者因在推特上转引谭曼卡塞公司养鸡场工作条件纠纷而被判处两年监禁。

(chinadaily.com.cn)

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