>While this reaction by the hotel does sound excessive I’d give them the benefit of the doubt that this guest behaved like a total idiot while at the property and then turned around with very unflattering descriptions and manufactured truths aka lies about this resort. He then refused to discuss the matter with the hotel and instead of stopping even accelerated his online badmouthing on channels other than TripAdvisor after the first bad review was “managed” away (deleted).
>These little islands in Thailand are well known to be essentially run by the local mafia and a lot of people have met their fate at these islands after run in with the locals. In 2014 a British couple was killed on Koh Tao and the crime was later pinned on some illiterate Burmese migrant workers. The two Burmese were initially sentenced to death and just received a Royal pardon, reducing the sentence to life imprisonment.
>I’m just noting this in the context of the situation at hand to show that one should consider his behavior and own security while on these islands.
He's giving the hotel the benefit of the doubt that it's the guest's fault, but also brings up that the islands are run by the mafia and has a corrupt justice system. What's he trying to say? That even if you're right, you shouldn't write a bad review because the justice system is corrupt and you're going to end up in jail anyways?
The description of the room was completely different from the room, extremely hot and humid even by Thailand standards, the windows wouldn't lock and could be opened from the balcony (accessible from other rooms), and the room just had bedding: no wardrobe, no drawers, no hangers, nothing (the pictures showed rooms with some basic amenities). On top it wasn't cheap either.
When we raised the concerns, the manager was both extremely drunk and non cooperative, which awarded shitty reviews. We didn't even spend there the night and took the last minute cancellation fee as a loss. They replied with made up stuff about us being violent and threatening.
Despite that, the place had (and still has) raging reviews from bogans, as it has a bar with plenty of beer variety on the ground floor running basically 24/7.
I also met some really nice people in Thailand, but I do feel it has been a bit ruined by the wrong kind of tourism.
One reason Thailand is safer than most "third world" countries is that tourism is taken very seriously by the government. Most notably, they have a "tourist police" that can be called if you run into trouble.
Also note that most "scams" are just overpricing. Sure, it sucks paying 5 times the local price, but when it is 10 times more expensive in your home country, it is not really a big deal.
One year later still feeling sad for not able to protect us from it. Have become extremely suspicious of helpful people/sellers. Had issues with buying stuff since the trip. Not the price/money that is/has been the issue. I wished I never visited Bangkok.
Similar as this one, but for suits instead. (Did not plan to buy it, in fact earlier that day I wonder why/laugh at people that did it, just a few hours later I was one of them. Now I understand them an why it works and will continue to work for 20 more years)
TLDR; Thailand suppose to be me an my partners dream trip. Was our worst trip, lead to us splitting up and started to have trust issue. Feeling depressed about it, still sad about it one year later.
My reason for going to Thailand was that I had an internship in Australia (I'm from the Netherlands) and I was going to change planes there anyway, so I figured I might as well spend a month in the area. While I didn't like the cities, there were many other nice and beautiful places.
People have different levels of risk tolerance and different interests. I have traveled in a number of poor or somewhat conflicted countries and while it's definitely not always enjoyable, I don't think everything in life is about enjoyment and they were really valuable experiences that shaped my view on the world in other ways. (Not to sound like a disaster tourist - in all cases I was either passing through or working in the area, it's not like I went to watch poverty or conflict.)
It pays to know what you want, to have a permanent bitch-face and a habit of saying no to everything else.
You will know what to avoid and what to expect
Tuk tuks are always bad deal/tourist attraction, make sure Taxis use meter, don't take any of their suggestions (girls, jewelery, etc) or accept detours
To be safe, use Grab application,
- no wasting time trying to speak to the driver asking where you want to go,
- no tips (from rounding up the payment),
- no taking you places you don't want to go.
Yes, even if you're right, you shouldn't write a bad review because the justice system is corrupt.
The article is mixing issues unrelated to the case here
And no, that is clearly not what they’re trying to communicate (although the actual goal remains unclear). If the premise was “don’t write a review, they’re corrupt and will spuriously jail you”, then they wouldn’t offer the hotel chain the benefit of the doubt.
I have no great interest in going (I live in Taiwan and the average review I hear for a family vacation isn’t very flattering) but if I were I would be really careful. Most people woefully lack an underground/crime IQ and don’t know how to act in certain situations, often refuse to listen to reason.
I used to work as a bouncer for years after I got sick of corporate work and every once in a while some jackass or Karen would work up the nerve to get weird with the HA guys wearing their vests or getting snarky about calling cops on local dealers who are actually not working per se but trying to unwind with a drink. Honestly, some people get it in their head that they are untouchable because they are “good people” and the cops will protect them. Most people aren’t stupid like this so going on vacation to Thailand has a 99.99% likelihood of being ok.
Like think of someone who is warned about being careful in Mexico and then they petulantly do exactly the opposite. I’m sure Thailand attracts tons of idiots.
You don’t need to be an idiot for you trip to go bad. I used a local transportation. When getting off a Chinese tourist had lost is wallet in it. A local just took it for himself while the tourist was still in sight. The scene went too fast for me to do anything but I felt bad for the guy who will likely get charged on credit card, lost all his cash and probably ID too.
It sucks that it happens but if you take proper precaution it shouldn't ruin the vacation besides a slight annoyance...
It's also bad luck, as a counterpoint, I forgot my bag with my computer at a restaurant in Bangkok, I noticed 30 minutes later, came back and the restaurant staff had kept it for me.
Then again, I typically describe any place with more than a few dozen people as overly crowded for the purposes of vacationing, so maybe I’m not the right person to ask.
Just to name a couple things I find interesting there; your interests presumably differ.
I've read a few of articles on this case now, and none of them really seem to grasp how this law work. They say he lives in Thailand though, so he really should know better. It's up there with "never say bad things about the king" in regards to things every expat living in Thailand should know.
That's common in many countries. "It's true" is only a valid defense if you're accusing someone of a crime.
This is a good article on the history of the issue: https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/941/criminal-libel
Edit: added the .
In the US, the burden of proof is on the person suing for libel; they have to prove that what was said is false.
So in the UK, yes truth is a defense... but you can still be telling the truth and unable to prove it, which makes it not much help.
There are two clearly distinct legal traditions: the common law in the anglo countries and civil law in the rest. Also USA and UK seem to have very different and each of them unique treatment in this matter.
So it's not a question of first world countries vs the rest. It's more of a USA vs UK vs the rest of democratic countries, not sure where other Commonwealth countries fall.
Edit: I feel I wasn't clear. Civil law countries mostly adhere to ancient legal doctrine, some coming from Roman Empire, some from middle ages tradition, some from Bonaparte, some from German theoreticians. This corpus is pretty consistent, grown through statutes, while common law tend to develop idiosyncratic variants following practice in every country.
On the matter of defamation the US is quite different from everywhere else though, because of the 1st amendment, and the 'actual malice' standards applied to 'public figures' in defamation cases. The confounding factors in the EU are the privacy clauses in the European Convention on Human Rights, so you see cases that would be related to defamation elsewhere being litigated on privacy in the EU.
In the US, the publication of private matters is a separate tort, invasion of privacy. For IOP, truth is not a defense.
Or another way of looking at it: libel is a narrower tort in the US than it is in the rest of the world.
Some European countries do have quite strict privacy laws, so a newspaper which obtained the material in a questionable way might have to be cautious (see the News International hacking scandal, for instance).
What case was this? Are you sure you're not talking about the Max Mosley (the former racing driver/FIA boss) case against News Group? Because that was a breach of privacy case, not a defamation one.
It was a huge deal for a few weeks, and then it disappeared. I only remember it because my Torts professor brought it up in class during the defamation lecture as an example of the differences between US and UK defamation law.
Also, what does the cold war alignment have to do with this?
However, the meanings of these have changed from political designations to economic designationms.
Economically, american citizens have much lower access to basic social services and we let people die on the street with vacant housing in the neighborhood. Does that make us second world or third world?
At least local journalists are waking up to how bad it is with the wealthy suddenly throwing their weight around and taking every paper in the nation to court over a few words.
A terrible import from the UK. Despite all the nastiness and bad words, protected free speech is what the US really did get right.
All laws can be used in a multitude of unintended ways, something lawmakers never really consider.
Suppose you know a person who committed a crime and be punished years ago and there is no immediate threat of doing it again, revealing that fact is a defamation, unless a person is a public figure like the politician and revealing the fact is important for public welfare.
Many US jurisdictions have both, and Constitutionally-allowable criminal defamation had almost identical conditions to Constitutionally-allowable civil defamation.
> The thing that makes it really bad though, is that truth is not always a defence for criminal defamation offences. The law is something to the effect of "disclosing private matters can be defamation even if it's true"
Truth isn’t a defense to (civil or criminal) invasion of privacy or public disclosure of private fact claims in the US, either. They are distinct from defamation, rather than the part of the same offense, but aside from that...
That is, unless this case got special treatment due to the alleged corruption of Thai justice system.
I for one have nothing bad to say about the Thai mafia.
People need free discussion, ESPECIALLY during this scamdemic where everyone is seriously on edge.
Edit: If people get banned they just open up a new account. I've lost track how many accounts I've gone thru over the years. Yes, many were banned for unknown/irrational reasons, but the point is people just open a new account and done.
I'm glad you feel that way. If true, it's because this community hasn't yet gone too far down the path to brain death, and from there heat death, which has traditionally been the default fate of internet communities. The HN guidelines are basically a way of attempting to stave off that fate: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=stave%20by:dang&dateRange=all&....
Swipes like "What are you talking about", "Wrong", "You’re inventing things and twisting reality", "The ridiculous part is your comment", "Are you for real", "What are you talking about", "Your statement has no connection to reality", "You apparently have not read enough" (all of which unnameduser1 managed to post in just this thread!) are obviously against the HN guidelines, which ask people to be kind, not to call names, and so on: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.
It's our experience that when internet commenters come with sharp elbows in this way, it has negative effects on community. Perhaps you feel that these things are no big deal—certainly judgments can differ. But usually people who think 'no big deal' are deriving their standards from what works well in smaller, more cohesive communities. My favorite example of that is rugby players who beat the crap out of each other and then go out drinking together afterwards. Other examples might be an academic colloquium where the participants go hard after each other's ideas, or literary circles where people trade barbed witticisms. Or simply just regular watercooler conversation or talking smack with friends.
All of those environments are richer and able to sustain a much wider range than we can here. It may not feel like it, but HN is a broadcasting channels to millions of people. Broadcasting channels can't function the way that closed, intimate environments can—they are much too incohesive. People are far quicker to hear things that haven't actually been said (or meant), have extreme reactions, respond in kind or worse, and we end up with a Tacoma Narrows Bridge effect.
So yeah, we have to operate with safety factors that to some extent make discussion more bland (a downside) but have the effect of preserving the community for relatively high-signal communication, as opposed to shallow hostility, which eventually leads to screaming matches and then, as I said, heat death.
Moderating HN as if it didn't need those safety factors would in my opinion be a big mistake.
If that seems wrong to you, it's probably because you're assuming a degree of stability that doesn't exist here. This is an easy assumption to make, because if X doesn't seem so bad, it's natural to think "what's wrong with X" and feel like the moderators are "heavy ham fisted" for scolding X. The problem is that X is not an end state in the state machine.
If it were merely a few sharp elbows, maybe that wouldn't be a big deal—but large internet forums are not stable this way. You can't stop at sharp elbows, because when people feel affronted, they escalate. Sharp elbows lead to nose punches, then brawls, and so on. If we start to go down that road, the most desirable and intelligent users will simply stop coming, leading to a higher concentration of low-signal/high-noise behavior, which will accelerate the feedback loop, and before long there will be no one left who feels that "people here are intelligent adults".
If anyone wants more explanation, here are some past ones:
I had a good time there, but I remember my expectations were low. But news like this make me cross that country from the map of future traveling.
I remember feeling when at entrance in Singapore I got stamp on passport with small print warning that "drug usage is punishable by death" regardless of not using drugs, I could not help myself of overthinking "what if someone puts a small bag in my luggage" or what if I my sleeve brushed somewhere where someone was sniffing coke...
As for Thailand and other Asian countries, what you must understand about Asian culture in general as a westerner is the tremendous weight of saving face there. Something that you might think of as relatively innocuous and the cost of doing business, like raising your voice, a bad hotel review, or a negative restaurant write-up (after all, nobody anywhere gets 100% five star reviews) is something that creates dishonor and triggers immediate defense mechanisms that escalate according to the severity of how much face has been lost. Embarrassing Asians in public can cause them to feel that they are losing social standing, reputation, influence, dignity, and honour, and you should consider whether it's worth the hassle over something trivial to put them on the defensive.
I got searched by airport security. They found the medication. They asked me what it was. I told them. And then this guy says "Okay good, I will have some after my shift". He then opens the bottle takes 2 pills out and puts them in his pocket and hands it back to me.
Moral of the story: in the Philippines, act like a boss, get treated like a boss. It's a delicate balance, but you're more likely to succeed if you're polite rather than arrogant. Rules are not hard like they are in the west, they can be bent if not broken.
Maybe that you should wait until you're safely home before you write your negative review. Well, it's not what he says, but it's probably the best advice in these cases.
Yes, the punishment is excessive but not sure how the guest is “right”.
Your comment is cherry picking the later section while ignoring the beginning, it seems.
> According to media reports the whole drama initially started as the guest brought outside alcohol into the hotels dining outlets which wasn’t permitted. It then resulted in a verbal row between the management and this particular individual who then posted bad reviews across several review boards.
>Your comment is cherry picking the later section while ignoring the beginning, it seems.
I didn't claim that the guest was right. In my original comment, the only mention of "right" was in a hypothetical.
The article says the hotel wanted a fee for bringing in alcohol. Where are you getting that not paying a fee to bring alcohol to a hotel and lying about it would be a serious crime in thailand?
This is all pretty dark though and violates my own personal values. Not sure why there are so many in the comments here defending this hotel.
>Originally from Germany, Sebastian studied Business Management and worked in related positions for various companies including Lufthansa and the Thomas Cook Group before obtaining his BA and Masters Degree in Vancouver, Canada.
So if it's a corporation or a person, Powell is probably going to side with the corporation. Business school is like some kind of weird anti-customer, anti-worker brainwashing program. I've read the books they teach in project management and business courses. It was like an instruction manual for being a house slave.
I can't comment about the guest vs the hotel, but this one is also filed under Section 14(1) in Thailand's Computer-Related Crime Act in addition to Defamation by advertising, so it is another chapter in a long and ongoing story of Section 14(1) abuse, which says:
"Section 14: Whoever commits the following offences shall be liable to an imprisonment [...]: (1) Dishonestly or by deception, entering wholly or partially distorted or false computer data into a computer system in a manner likely to cause damage to the general public; which is not a defamation under the Criminal Code" (unofficial translation)
The original intention for this Section was to be used for _phishing and fraud_ (as it was originally based on Budapest Convention), but it is worded so loosely that it applicable to anything deemed "false information" as long as it is not directly a defamation. This is mainly due to the use of word "false information" instead of "forgery" in the Thai version. This Section (and the whole Section 14) has been used by government to suppress any political differences for a long time, and never once actually be used for phishing or fraud as it was intended.
It also doesn't help that this Section 14(1) actually has higher fine/jail time than the relevant Criminal Code and cannot be withdrawn, unlike the Criminal Code. Group of lawyers at iLaw has been pushing to amend this Act for a long time, but lawmaker only respond to them by making it worse (to the point that it cannot actually be used for phishing or fraud).
Right now the push to amend Section 14(1) kinda stalled, as Thailand has much bigger problem that need to be fixed (including amending the constitution so Army-tied party no longer get automatically elected, of which a signature of 100k Thai people with a hard copy of their National ID card recently been dismissed in favor for "100k" names in Google Forms from the pro-government side).
: http://ilaw.or.th/node/5705 (in Thai)
Once the floor dropped out in our bungalow, as I was stepping on it. Sheer luck that I didn't fall through and cut myself open on the exposed building material.
Trying to explain this to the owner and they accused us of breaking the floor and wanted to charge for it.
Another time we wanted them to order a cab for us but they insisted we use their limo service. This was ludicrous so I just stood my ground and they finally ordered a regular city cab.
It can get pretty frustrating communicating with someone who doesn't understand.
Also raising your voice and gesticulating in their culture is really frowned upon. Even when you're mad you don't raise your voice or start waving your arms around.
They understand, they’re just aiming to maximise monetary gain. There’s so many scams to avoid that it’s actually hard work to travel there.
The culture of keeping a calm exterior can lull people into a false sense of security. A businessman I knew who lives there told me “you’ll never know a Thai is angry with you until they’re trying to kill you”. Definitely a gross generalisation, but hints of truth to it.
I had similar experiences in Thailand, but I also saw a lot of terrible behaviour from tourists - trashing rooms, causing disturbances late at night, trying to trick/scam or just nickle-and-dime the locals
Thailand seems to attract a particularly hard-partying demographic from Australia, UK and Germany in particular that gives other tourists a bad reputation - who are then treated with a lot of suspicion.
Those locals put up with a ton of shit from drunk Aussies. But I’m sure they make enough money to put up with it.
That's the Gold Coast. Maybe it's more like Cancun?
Some of the most revolting tourist behavior I've seen is along these lines.
Like being at a cenote in Mexico and a tourist with her three kids is livid at the clerk that she has to pay 100 pesos for her family (<$5) yet there's a sign that says the impoverished locals only have to pay 15 pesos (<$1). She wants that price! Arguing with the 16yo kid at the front gate who is nervously looking around for an adult to help. Then she got in an argument with us in line.
Some people feel untouchable when they're abroad, and they expect every place in the world to be the same as their little suburb. We need to stop making these people.
Of course - this is true of most countries in the global south since the 80/90s.
Also, don't be fooled by the main business/living hubs of the glittering major cities of the world into thinking that most places are now mostly first world: Sure, you can travel from Bangkok to Delhi to Cairo and then Mexico City and in all of them spend days inside an urban area that's remarkably comparable to a normal European or U.S city's. However, these bubbles only represent a small fraction of the totality of these places, and much of that total outside of said bubbles is very, very different in how it looks and works compared to how the majority outer parts of most first world cities look or work. This without even going into any detail about difference in the countryside and smaller provincial towns that aren't specifically tourist hubs.
You are substantially under-estimating the size of the urban population of these countries if you think that the major cities only represent a "small fraction."
I partly speak from personal experience here too. The city I live in has a largish core urban zone that's fairly tourist-friendly, clean and highly, fashionably modernized and cultural (but with a charming colonial aspect).
Since the city in general has well over 15 million inhabitants, this "bubble" area itself contains well over a million people, easily, but it's just a small fraction of the rest of the city, which is very much what you'd call a dangerously third world place in terms of crime, corruption, administrative ineptitude and barely functional infrastructure.
I don't just mean 'rich countries'/'poor countries.' First, because that is not necessarily as simply true anymore - the economic relations are much more complicated. Second, that is a value judgement about how countries ought to develop.
You can read up more about it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_South
Where do people not frown upon that? Would you like someone raising their voice and waving their arms around in front of you?
> It can get pretty frustrating communicating with someone who doesn't understand.
Did you try speaking their language?
And to save any more missing the point stereotypes about Italians or New Yorkers waving their hands at each other in completely different contexts:
A stranger angrily waving their hands and unintelligibly shouting things at you would be frowned upon in any culture.
And that this has to be explained - again - to some people is unbelievable.
I actually wasn't sure if the original post wasn't just a parody of the archetypal ignorant English-speaker abroad, since it's such a staple of comedy.
Judging by the downvotes though, HN is absolutely crawling with similarly entitled egotists who blame other people for their own chronic laziness and ignorance when they condescend to grace other countries with their presence.
On the other hand, some cultures may suppress even severe anger.
Would you approve of the person who you consider damaged your property waving their arms about and shouting at you?
I don't think most people would, in any culture, from New York to Boston to Italy.
Anyway, this seems to be the hill you want to die on. You shall have it.
(I was blunt upon departure and it went swimmingly.)
Bonus clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvwpNkJd82w&t=75
No I'm from southern europe. ;) Where Bostonians and New Yorkers come from.
In Thailand they take drugs super seriously and they can blackmail you easily this way.
On the other hand you see all kind of scumbags from western countries traveling there thinking they could do whatever they please with total disrespect for the locals and the country.
Without more data, I bet this is the second case. If the online reviews are false the Hotel is in their right to accuse him of defamation.
How exactly does a Taxi driver coordinate with guards? At what point did you discover the scheme? You were nearly blackmailed and just threw away the evidence?
How does the Airport guard blackmail you? How goes he expect to get paid? Why go through this and not just blackmail the actual legitimate drug users?
Two brothers - one works as a taxi driver, the other as an airport guard.
The taxi brother inserts small packs of cocaine in the bags of his passengers. Then texts his airport guard brother a description of the passenger and bag he inserted the drug in.
The passenger arrives at the security check and his bag gets pulled out.
The airport guard finds the drugs and puts the passenger in a room somewhere in the airport. The passenger now gets an option: pay a nice bribe and board the plane, or don't and spend the night there with the option of landing in a Thai jail.
Passenger decides to opt for the bribe (at that point, who wouldn't) - even though they know full well they didn't carry any drugs.
The airport guard brother pockets the $XXXX and the passenger hightails it out of there. Scared shitless.
Brother and brother meet at a bar later and share their spoils, celebrating with a nice meal and a few too many drinks.
Rinse and repeat. Could work with nephews, friends, family - it's probably not that hard.
The CCTV, X-ray machines and general security theater is an extension project of the DHS, that posted warnings of NAIA used that to force NAIA to upgrade it's security theater alongside immigration.
All this is very common in third world countries. We continually prey upon each other in the best of times and heaven help any sheltered foreigner who happens to walk around with their guard down.
Here in South Africa if you rent a car at Johannesburg airport, the corrupt metro police are waiting for you at the airport exit to "fine" you for "incorrect driving" or having the wrong licence. Easy for locals to dodge, but foreigners who respect a uniform easily pay the ransom.
The airport guard searches your bag, finds the cocaine and proposes you pay a hefty sum to make the problem go away. The taxi driver gets his cut for planting the evidence.
On the one hand, I think it is morally wrong for defamation to be a criminal offense.
But on the other hand ... don't go to thailand unless you are okay with their laws, same as any other country.
I've been to Thailand many times too, mostly to Krabi (for the climbing). And like many, I use trip advisor.
I view the negative comments first. I find negative reviews valuable. A lot of them are made in anger and sometimes on purpose and less fault from the establishment.
This brings me to the review system. Trip advisor reviews make or break a place. Although arresting someone is quite extreme I hope there is a better way to moderate them.
But Thailand’s defamation laws, online laws, and more kinda turn me off from visiting. Granted the person in the story is an American that lives and works in Thailand as a teacher, still, you would think he would know the laws and not let his American ego get the best of him.
For example the UK has the Modern Slavery Act - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Slavery_Act_2015
It’s like joking about child prostitution in Cambodia. As an American it’s something that happens in far away lands (not entirely true, it happens in the US too).
In Cambodia, it’s a very serious issue that really pisses of locals since it’s mostly Western tourists supporting it there.
Joke about it in the US and it’s just frowned upon. Do it in Cambodian and you’ll piss people off enough to get yourself in trouble.
It's right there at the start. So has nothing to do with Google Maps.
What? No. You can defame yourself in literally any public media forum where what you say could affect the other party. That means literally any public website with a comment feature. Singling out just google maps with a solution like that makes no sense.
Google has no ethical requirement to cotton wool people from being a dick and trying to negatively impact a business's revenue.
I've been to Singapore. There's the ones everyone knows about like the drug laws, not spitting, littering, or chewing gum. The one people don't mention is that cars also have the right of way over pedestrians, so be extra careful when crossing the street.
This is pretty standard, and Singapore is way safer for pedestrians than virtually any Asian country outside Japan.
It's an important distinction because it places a legal burden on the driver to attempt to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
From your link:
> Elderly pedestrians accounted for two-thirds of all pedestrian fatalities. (1 in 2 accidents involving elderly pedestrians was due to jaywalking)
Singapore does seem safe in a deaths/100k comparison. There's some EU figures where the best country does about ~20/million (so around ~2.0/100k). Singapore has 2.2/100k.
Things such as "jaywalking" is not a thing in loads of countries.
Also, the traffic lights are horrendous. You need to wait way too long. See e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knbVWXzL4-4 for various examples of way quicker lights.
Edit: I guess the truth doesn’t matter on HN.
Then one time the person who got hit died in the hospital from a pre-existing condition, so they stopped writing the tickets.
I'm local to America, and I can assure you no human being is capable of learning my local laws. How many federal laws are there? No one even knows!
What hope do I have of learning local laws somewhere else? What hope does a foreigner have in America? The best you can hope for is to get a cheatsheet of some big common differences and then keep a low profile.
We don't know whether they were a dick or not. Even if they were, they didn't deserve to be jailed.
What we know for sure is that they went to jail because of a bad online review.
This is like telling a rape victim to not be a dick. Like wtf. Why is it even related?
As a Thai, we hope foreigners will help Thailand come up with better consumer protection. Thailand don't protect consumer as much as it should, and that's fucking sad.
Over the fact you didn't want to pay corkage for bringing in outside alcohol (a pretty normal thing).
A better term for this situation would be "costing."
I was actually there when this was going on earlier this year. Could have easily been me. They just picked on these poor people to make an example of them because they faced a backlash from locals (many of whom did similar things in other areas)
I've read multiple articles over the years about foreigners being caned in Singapore over relatively minor actions, hence my not being surprised if they did such a thing.
Here's one such example:
Singapore strikes me as an interesting mix of an archaic kingdom with a modern culture and economy. I'm not necessarily against their use of corporal punishment and strict laws, it seems to be a generally nice place.
The Michael Fay story was reported with a heavy bias in the US — the media conveniently left our significant parts of the story.
I have friends who were expats in Singapore at the time, and this is (approximately) their version:
- He was caught vandalizing multiple times.
- The first time he was given a stern warning.
- After successive events, his family was warned that their son was in grave danger, and their status in the country was at risk.
- After one or more additional events, they suggested to the family that Michael should leave the country immediately. His parents found that inconvenient due to their jobs being in Singapore.
- After another event, it was suggested to the family that both they and their son should leave Singapore immediately. Again, they chose not to leave.
- Finally, after multiple warnings, and one or more additional transgressions, they threw the book at him.
- According to my friends, most of the expats thought he was a rotten kid, and they thought he deserved it.
Note that this jibes with how I have seen a lot of law enforcement happen (esp. with Americans) in Japan, Korea, and HK. Specifically, warnings often happen before the hammer comes down, and that usually solves the problem. But if and when the hammer comes down, the outcome will be very bad for the recipient. When I have discussed this matter and this type of justice with folks from Japan, Korea, and HK, they all think it is fairly reasonable, and they don’t know of anyone personally who was not given a reasonable chance (obviously small sample size, and obviously the system isn’t always reasonable, but the consistency of the answers was surprising to me).
All that said, I suspect that some folks from developing countries may reasonably disagree with my assessment of Japan. I haven’t had the chance to speak with specific parts of those communities, so it’s hard to know what the reality is.
That said, caning in Singapore is no joke, even those 4 will scar for life: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_in_Singapore
When Fill-In-Political-Party-You-Don't-Like takes charge, lobbies to expand the definition of dickery, adds criticism of corporal punishment policies to the list, and rules that you are a dick... now it's just about the worst idea.
That's a sub-human system of torture and brutality that you're cheering for, which would be rife with false accusations and witch-hunting style assaults by the mob as large groups of people would increasingly lust to harm outcasts and persecute smaller collections of minorities.
Are we burning people with inflated egos today? Stonings? Pulling finger nails out? That person over there, they've got an inflated ego, I saw them taking a selfie on Tuesday!
It would be the perfect way to run a stalinist gulag perhaps.
Even if you believe it true that a pattern of a grouping of people is more often true than not doesn't mean it's something you should go around proudly stating.
If you say pizza is Americans favorite food, because 60% of individuals you ask say pizza is their favorite food, then no stereotype is in play.
It's not good Australian humour, but it's humour. It's taking the piss out of (mocking) a "stereotypical Australian" reaction, as commonly found in pubs and other (cheaper) drinking establishments.
I stayed a beach hostel once in Tonsai where these plain clothes thai's rolled up in a boat (two saying they were local krabi police) and demanded payment for "music licensing" from Thai owners. The owner refused to do the payoff, and the gangsters tried to physically escort him to the boat for "arrest"... the bartender got me to take a photo of them. They demanded I delete the photo and I was like "no you aren't going to mess with tourists" and they let the owner stay. Thai RIAA is brutal!!
Seems like a messed up situation and i would like to side with the guest, but given I don’t have a culture frame of reference I wouldn’t be too fast to judge the resort.
1. He left fabricated stories on his reviews on TripAdvisor and Google that included
xenophobic connotations, accusations of slavery and even comments that could mislead
readers to associate our property with the Coronavirus.
2. He had been posting reviews roughly 1-2 weeks apart with obvious defamatory
intentions. 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.
3. Despite our multiple efforts to contact him to resolve this in an amicable way for well
over a month, he chose to ignore us completely. He only replied to our emails, messages
on review sites, etc. once he had been notified of our complaint by the authorities."
If you want to be a tourist destination and at the same time threaten the freedom of your guests with such draconian laws, then you got a problem.
I read years ago that an American woman in Pakistan was arrested for walking on the street wearing short pants (wasn't modest enough). Tourists should know these things to be able to adapt or avoid.
Or, they're talking about refusing uppity Americans.
- “manager is Czech and full of himself” - xenophobic my ass (preemptively: I’m Czech and no way in hell would I see such statement as having “xenophobic connotations”
- He wrote “avoid like the coronavirus” - that can’t mislead anyone with non-zero reading comprehension to “associate the property”
They’re just bullies.
It is that police came to his work and put him in jail based off of a complaint by the hotel. Does that seem reasonable to you?
Regardless, I do agree it's excessive, but each country has its fair share of strange laws and regulations. For example, as a European everything related to firearms in the US is just as incomprehensible to me.
The ongoing coup d'etat means that this isn't simply a matter of "follow local laws", but also a matter of "risk that this becomes a litmus test for the western world's orientation toward Thailand's new system of government".
Cracking down on US tourists for speech violations is exactly the sort of thing hawkish senators in the US might latch onto. If that happens, Thailand becomes a de facto Chinese satellite state.
Which is all to say: domestic affairs are never exactly domestic when foreign nationals are involved. Normally the stakes are low, but in Thailand's case the particular moment is fraught with risk. The juice seems not worth the squeeze.
> preventive detention
AFAIK he's been charged with crimes.
You know there was an election right? Is the government still questionable? Sure. But the coup is no longer in effect, there is an elected government.
They told the police that what he said was untrue and the police came to his work and put him in prison.
This isn't strictly related to the story, but I just wanted to add some alternative point of view to this thread.
Caveat: I've traveled to many "less developed" countries so I might be more street-conscious than the average traveller.
Most of the rest of the world doesnt have free speech, and the American model of online reviews doesn't really translate.
These people value "not being talked about behind your back" more than "ability to say anything about anyone". America chose one, while many other places chose the other.
For example, in some countries, saying something negative about a company or business can be a crime.
Someone told me the other day something similar happened in Korea over a boy band. Guy got a year in jail for making anti-band postings online?
Any critique of anything that makes the country look less than a perfect paradise may get you fined, jailed and deported.
For example, some Swiss journalists were apprehended for taking pictures of the poor condition of laborers in Abu Dhabi.
If you try to report a crime, the police will grill you instead (why did you take pictures of the person sitting in the street selling shady goods, why didn't you just ignore the touts offering prostitution)
Even the community-run Dubai subreddit self-censors any real criticism of the city as "Dubai bashing"
These places are polished turds, with a lot of crap going on behind the scenes that foreigners don't see because of their carefully curated image and marketing.
I present to you: Air Chief Marshal Fufu!
However, I have written negative reviews before and been harassed by the company concerned or had them flagged as inappropriate even though I always stick to facts that I could easily prove or opinions that are clearly stated as such.
As a result it always concerns me to see companies trying to manage their reviews so tightly. How many other negative reviews resulted in the customer being contacted and persuaded to change them?
I'm aware of Thailand's strict laws about political speech and criticising the monarchy. I don't necessarily agree with them, but I will always abide by them as it's not my business to say what Thailand laws should be like.
In light of this though, I'll be extra careful what I say when reviewing Thai hotels, and I will be careful to avoid this hotel in particular and continue to avoid hotels that seem to pay a bit too much attention to their Tripadvisor reviews. Hint: you're entitled to reply of course, but it looks a bit creepy if you reply to all of them.
In short, if we are to believe both sides of the story, the guy shouldn't have got away with this scot free, but the response seems heavy handed and doesn't exactly cover the hotel with glory.
I imagine either the listing has to go, or a platform can be sued. I bet none of them show any notice a la “by leaving a bad review you are rolling the dice on some jail time”.
(Personally I prefer to leave a good review or none at all, save for extreme cases.)
That said, jail was extreme in this case, and a warning would've been sufficient in my opinion.
You have no idea how entitled some "farang" (foreigners) here are and how low of an opinion many of them have of Thailand and the Thai people. Sometimes it's really sickening to see the posts of this certain bloc of expats. They expect the government to just overlook the rules when it comes to immigration, local customs and local laws.
Recently because of Covid, the government gave around 60 days notice of them needing to go and get their visa extension and would you know it, most of them waited until the last minute with huge lines to do it. Then they complained that the immigration department was "incompetent" and "this is Thailand for you lol".
Generally they are American, Australian or the worse... the guys from the UK.
As someone who travels quite a bit in Thailand, the Thai people already bend over backwards to accommodate most of them, but to no avail.
Go ahead, start reading posts online from these guys explaining how the Thai government is inept, don't realize how "important farang are" to the country. They want to enter the country without having to go through the quarantine!
They are the same guys who approach local girls and ask them "how much" and then spend their days with only other foreigners.
They are the guys who only eat "European" food while on their vacation.
They are the guys who sit at the bar and drink all day and then go to the walking streets to assume every girl they see is a prosti*ute.
They are the guys who make very small attempt to make friends with local Thai people.
They are the guys who bring their drunken western ways here and expect the local culture which is very different, to accept it without complaint.
So for this guy, I don't know the whole story, but I'm almost sure that he was in the wrong. Believe me, the hotels here don't want any trouble and are EXTREMELY sensitive to online reviews as they can make or break them -- mafia run or not.
It takes quite a LOT to make Thai people upset with you, and its clear this guy did it.
However the problem is that the police considers this a good enough reason to jail someone working there legally after picking him up from his workplace.
I don’t think that’s fair.
There is literally zero evidence that he's working here (Thailand) legally. The article only says he works here, at a school.
That immigration police arrested him rather than "regular" police, suggests that his employment may not be above board.
Thai police can't speak English, so it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to ask the immigration police (which, by definition, deals with foreigners) to do it.
You can say the same about a good portion of the Thai immigration police.
But it’s the law in Thailand. And sometimes “those guys” believe that the laws in other countries don’t apply to them because they think it’s “not fair” and not the same as the laws in their countries.
Not that I generally have high hopes for Thailand's judicial independence from private and political interests, so who knows.