Man Arrested For Allegedly Leaving Fake One-Star Reviews: REPORT

(REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
Font Size:

A 21-year-old British man was arrested after allegedly leaving a slew of defamatory one-star reviews of an Italian restaurant on the Thai island of Phuket back in 2022, The Telegraph reported Monday.

The British tourist, identified as Alexander, allegedly sought revenge after he was told that he could not pass through the restaurant if he was not a paying customer, The Telegraph reported. (RELATED: Thailand Prime Minister Back Peddles On Legalizing Weed As Crime Rises After Decriminalization)

Alexander then purportedly enlisted a friend to help him craft a series of “false and distorted statements to maliciously damage” the restaurant that allegedly caused the establishment’s Google ratings to drop from 4.9 to 3.1, the outlet reported, citing local Thai media. The restaurant then filed a complaint with the Thai authorities about the ratings that alleged that the review damaged the eatery’s reputation and finances led to an investigation and warrant being issued in August 2022, the outlet noted.

Alexander denies any wrongdoing, the outlet reported, citing a Thai policeman familiar with the case. “The suspect was handed over to the inquiry officer of Sakhu Police Station for further legal action,” Jomparit Kaewreung, a police major from the crime suppression division, said, according to The Telegraph. Thailand has very strict anti-defamation laws and their legal system puts the burden of evidence on the suspect rather than the accuser, the outlet noted.

Conviction over public defamation could result in a two-year prison sentence and a fine of over $5,400, according to the law firm Herrera & Partners. Phuket is a major hub for tourism in Thailand with some 9.2 million tourists visiting the island in 2022, the Bangkok Post reported. The island is known for its Chinese restaurants, shrines, and beaches, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.