A resort in Thailand has threatened a tourist with a three million baht (US$89,000) defamation lawsuit for a negative review she made on the hotel booking site Agoda.
On his Facebook page, Thai attorney Mr Sittra Biabangkerd wrote that his client, Ms Khing, was ordered by the resort to remove her negative review “immediately” or she would have to pay the resort 50,000 baht (US$1485.00) per day in compensation plus the three million baht (US$89,000) in damages.
In addition, the resort ordered her to publish an apology in her local newspaper every day for seven days in a row.”
Her attorney also included a screenshot of the review that his client had written on the Agoda Hotel booking site on Dec 19, 2021.
Her attorney said that after his client stayed for one night at the resort hotel.
She rated her stay at the resort a “six out of ten” and felt that the experience there was overpriced. She also noted that the view from the room was “just okay”, and she could not call the reception from her room, so she had to walk down by herself. The night staff was not so helpful, but some were friendly.”
On the attorney’s Facebook post, netizens criticized the resort for threatening the tourist with a lawsuit. In addition, they questioned the resort’s claim that posting a negative review constitutes defamation.
The charges were later dropped by police and the matter was settled between the resort and the American tourist.
Defamation is a criminal offence in Thailand. Under section 326 of the Penal Code, a person commits defamation when they communicate a false statement to a third party, causing damage to that third party’s reputation.
It does not matter whether the false statement is published offline or online, such as in a newspaper, on Facebook or Instagram, or on any other platform that is publicly accessible.
Under section 328 of the Penal Code, the penalty is more severe, resulting in not more than two years in prison and a fine not more than 200,000 THB.