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A resort in Thailand has threatened a tourist with a three million baht (US $ 89,000) libel suit over a negative review she made on the hotel booking site Agoda.
On his Facebook page, Thai lawyer Mr. Sittra Biabangkerd wrote that his client, Ms. Khing, had been ordered by the resort to withdraw her negative review “immediately” or she would have to pay the resort 50,000 baht (1,485.00 US $) per day as compensation plus three million baht (US $ 89,000) in damages.
In addition, the complex ordered him to publish an apology in his local newspaper every day for seven consecutive days.
His lawyer also included a screenshot of the notice his client wrote on Agoda Hotel’s booking site on December 19, 2021.
His lawyer said that after his client spent a night at the resort hotel.
She rated her stay at the resort as “six out of ten” and felt that the experience there was too expensive. She also noted that the view from the bedroom was “ok” and she couldn’t call reception from her room, so she had to go downstairs on her own. The night staff were not very helpful, but some were friendly.
On the lawyer’s Facebook post, netizens criticized the resort for threatening the tourist with legal action. In addition, they questioned the complex’s claim that posting a negative review constitutes libel.
In September 2020, a guest at an American hotel lodged a complaint on TripAdvisor regarding his stay at the Sea View Koh Chang resort on the island of Koh Chang. This led the complex to file a defamation complaint.
The charges were then dropped by the police and the case was settled between the resort and the American tourist.
Defamation is a criminal offense in Thailand. Under article 326 of the Penal Code, a person commits defamation when he communicates a false statement to a third party, damaging the reputation of that third party.
It does not matter whether the false statement is posted offline or online, such as in a newspaper, on Facebook or Instagram, or on any other publicly accessible platform.
Under article 328 of the Penal Code, the penalty is more severe, not exceeding two years in prison and a fine not exceeding 200,000 THB.