Man Risks Spending Over Two Years in Prison for Posting Negative Restaurant Reviews Online

A UK man was recently arrested in Thailand for allegedly causing damage to a Phuket restaurant by posting a number of 1-star reviews online following an altercation with the restaurant owner.

The 21-year-old British national was arrested in Thailand earlier this month when police showed up at his apartment in Bangkok, but the incident that led to his arrest dates back to 2022 when he was staying in a rented property in Phuket. According to Thai media, the easiest way for the man, known only as Alexander, to reach his abode passed through an Italian restaurant and he didn’t hesitate to use it. Noticing that the man passed through his restaurant several times per day, the owner confronted him and asked that he use the public road instead because he wasn’t a paying customer and he was disturbing his guests. Shortly after the heated exchange, the restaurant owner noticed that the Google rating of his business had dropped from 4.8/5 to 3.1/5 because of a number of allegedly fake 1-star reviews. Suspecting Alexander was behind this online defamation campaign, he filed a complaint against him.

Photo: Bench Accounting/Unsplash

It’s unclear how Thai police confirmed that Alexander was responsible for the negative online reviews, but in August 2023, an arrest warrant was issued in his name “for entering false information into a computer system in a way that is likely to cause damage to others but which is not an offense of defamation according to the Criminal Code”.

According to Police Major Jomparit Kaewreung of the Crime Suppression Division, 21-year-old Alexander was arrested in Bangkok and handed over to the inquiry officer of Sakhu Police Station in northern Phuket. During interrogation, he has denied the charges against him but, if found guilty, he risks spending two years in prison.

In 2020, an American tourist faced similar charges under Thailand’s strict anti-defamation laws for posting a review on Trip Advisor and accusing a Phuket resort of ‘modern-day slavery’. He was arrested but released shortly after apologizing for his actions.

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