Asia

Wesley Barnes biography: 13 things about U.S. man jailed over TripAdvisor review of Thai resort

Wesley Gene Barnes (©Kansas City Police Department)

Wesley Gene Barnes (©Kansas City Police Department)

Wesley Gene Barnes is an American citizen who worked as a teacher in Thailand while the world was battling against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. He made headlines after posting a negative review of a resort in the Southeast Asian country.

According to Barnes, he got the teaching job in Thailand on a tourist visa and obtained all of the documents from his school to apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa-B. He said he received a letter from Thailand’s Ministry of Education informing the Thailand Immigration Bureau that he was allowed to apply for a a Non-Immigrant Visa-B in the country due to COVID-19.

Barnes was on visa amnesty, his tourist visa expired on May 9, 2020 and his immigration office is in Samutprakarn, Thailand, he said. Here are 13 more things about him:

 

  1. He was born on May 2, 1983.
  2. He is related to Lilian Barnes, Quintin Barnes, Kayla Barnes, Christel Barnes and Montana Barnes.
  3. He is 5’11”.
  4. He is originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, United States. He lived in various parts of Kansas including Lawrence, Olathe and Manhattan.
  5. After driving under influence of alcohol or drugs on May 8, 2004, he was jailed in a state prison in Kansas on August 02, 2004. He was discharged on February 3, 2009.
  6. On October 17, 2017, he claimed that he was a federal agent while inside Bobby Baker’s Lounge at 7418 Wornall Road in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, USA and showed a witness a handgun. He told the same story at Waldo Bar at 7438 Wornall Road and opened fired after being kicked out from the bar at about 1:00 a.m. on October 18, 2017. He opened fire again at 1:30 a.m. on the same day at the QuikTrip at 10232 Wornall Road. Police traced him through a credit card he used at the bar and on October 19, 2017, Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker charged him with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action.
  7. On June 27, 2020, he visited the Sea View Resort and Spa Koh Chang on Kai Bae Beach on Koh Chang Island, Trat, Thailand with a friend. In the evening, they ate at the resort’s restaurant. When a waiter and the supervisor informed them that there is corkage fee of 500 baht ($15.8) for the alcoholic beverages they brought from outside, they started to cause a commotion, according to the resort. The resort’s director of food and beverage stepped in and eventually allowed him and his friend drink their alcohol without paying the corkage fee. He used abusing language towards employees, the Insider quoted the resort’s rooms division manager Tom Storup as saying. On June 28, 2020, he and his friend checked out from the Sea View Resort and Spa Koh Chang without complaints, according to the resort.
  8. On June 29, 2020, he wrote his first TripAdvisor review of the Sea View Resort and Spa Koh Chang. He accused the resort of modern day slavery. After a week, the site removed the review because it violated its guidelines.
  9. On July 3, 2020, he gave a 1/5 star review of the resort on TripAdvisor. He wrote verbatim, “Unfriendly staff, no one ever smiles. They act like they don’t want anyone there. The restaurant manager was the worst. He is from the Czech Republic. He is extremely rude and impolite to guests. Find a another place. There are plenty with nicer staff that are happy you are staying with them.”
  10. On September 10, 2020, he wrote in a Facebook group called Expats in Thailand verbatim, “I got my NON B visa today. Immigration officers were nice and friendly. It was an easy process. It only COST 2,000 baht. DON’T pay these crazy visa agencies. I did the entire process alone! It was not an issue at all! Contact your local immigration office to find out your options.”
  11. The Sea View Resort and Spa Koh Chang owner filed a defamation complaint against him. If convicted, he could be fined up to 100,000 baht ($3,200) and be jailed for up to five years. On September 12, 2020, he was booked and taken to court in Koh Chang. He claimed that only 30 minutes were left before court closed that day and he was told his bail was 100,000 baht ($3161), which he could not pay at the time. From September 12-13, 2020, he stayed in a local prison in Koh Chang with more than 1000 inmates. On September 14, 2020, he was able to bail out.
  12. On September 26, 2020, he sent a lengthy statement to Thailand-based British blogger Richard Barrow. He wrote verbatim in part, “My friend and I slept in Sea View Koh Chang resort in June. The visit started bad. We pulled up to the hotel to look at a room and get the price. We was told to go online. Eventually, we talked them into letting us see a room. We booked the room, over 6,000 baht for 1 night, and proceeded to enjoy our stay. The staff were unfriendly at every turn. The night progressed and we started drinking on the beach right outside of the restaurant. To avoid drinking and driving, we decided to eat at the restaurant at the hotel. We had our bottle of gin and was told it would cost an extra 500 baht to have it there. We were both shocked and complaint a little to the server but my friend was willing to pay for it. The server told the manager we complained and he came over with an attitude. After having a little to drink and paying so much for the room, I got a little attitude back. Eventually we was not charged. Before we left, my friend the peaceful one, wanted to tell the manager that he handled the situation wrong. The manager got upset and tried to argue with my friend. My friend brushed it off and didn’t argue with him. I did notice how the staff seemed scared of the management and more worried about management more than serving the customers. Later, on our balcony trying to enjoy the rest of our night, we see that manager with another employee, picking up room service dished I think. He was yelling and acting very aggressive. That was when I said I will write a review about this place when I leave. With that manager, I felt there was some type of master/slave mentality going on. So in my original post (that Never got posted) I used the phrase modern slavery. It was not nice by any means but it made my point and how I felt about the situation there. I could have never dreamt what would happen next. I got an email from the hotel telling me to remove all of my reviews or face criminal charges. Coming from the west, I felt it was an empty threat. Plus, the review that was used for defamation never got published. Boy, was I wrong. I went for my visa. The next day immigration police was at my workplace with a warrant for my arrest. I was taken to immigration where I waited for Koh Chang police to pick me up and take me to Koh Chang.”
  13. On October 9, 2020, the Sea View Resort and Spa Koh Chang agreed to drop charges against him as long as he apologizes to media, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the U.S. Embassy and the Tripadvisor website before November 2020. He agreed to the terms. The hotel told Reuters, “Under conditions that Mr. Barnes shows his sincerity and takes full responsibility for what had happened and remedy the situation, the hotel will be delighted to drop the charge.”

(This is a developing story. More details will be added soon.)

19 replies »

  1. just a small point, but in:
    “On June 27, 2020, he visited the Sea View Resort and Spa Koh Kang ”
    ..the last word in the name of the resort is ‘Chang’, not Kang.
    Koh Chang is the name of the island and the last part of the name of the resort.
    Out of interest, in Thai, ‘Koh’ means ‘island’ and ‘Chang’ means ‘Elephant’.

    (p.s. the guy seems like a dick)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry. But just another bad, loud mouthed farang in Thailand giving the rest of us a bad name. My guess is he hasn’t been in Thailand very long, where you learn to keep a low profile. And most places don’t allow outside food or drink in their establishments. Corkage fees are normal in Thailand for places that do allow. He obviously didn’t know this. Bottom line.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Why is a convicted criminal being allowed to teach in Thailand?
    He has failed to mention this and is therefore guilty of deception.
    He should be immediately deported.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Correct, on his immigration application form requesting non-b immigrant visa in order to get a work permit, one of the questions is;- “Have you been arrested or convicted on any crime and/or drugs in your home country?

    If he answered NO he lied.

    If he answered YES he would be refused to stay in the Country, immediately taken to the Immigration Detention where he would need to buy his own ticket in order to be deported.

    Everyone detained at the immigration awaiting deportation must have or buy
    his own ticket to one’s home country.

    No one is allowed to be sent to any country other than his own. Not all airlines accept deportees.

    Punishment for lying when filling an official government application form is against the law.

    It is also punished with deportation decided directly at the Immigration Authority, no need to open justice Court proceedings.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This guy has no idea how the world turns. He thinks his big mouth gets him what he wants. It’s time he get some correction done to that.
    What a dickhead.
    If I was the Tai government, I would send him home on the first rubber dinghy i could find.
    Adios amigo, make trouble in Kansas, you obviously haven’t learnt anything there.

    Like

  6. What an amazing moron. Good quality teaching guaranteed!

    But you can also see that many schools and institutions don’t really do a thorough background check. Here in another South East Asian country where I teach French, they even contacted the references I gave back in my home country.

    Like

  7. Thanks to people like Wesley Barnes, American tourists get “extra special sauce” in their food. Think about that if you are American traveling oversea.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “It’s what it is”, “It virtually affected no ones”, “May be he immune to lying like trump”, Thai peoples believe in karma..”You will never understand the damaged you did to someone until the same thing is done to you. That’s why I’m here” – Karma.

    Like

  9. A very incomplete article. Barnes did not show up for his court date in the US where he faces a 5 yr or more prison sentence and automatically there was a bench warrant issued for his arrest. Interestingly, the authorities in the US don’t seem to care about arresting Barnes. They know he was in Thailand.

    It would be interesting to know what country Barnes flew off to. If it was the US were the authorities waiting for him to arrest him for skipping out on his court date?

    Second, Richard Barrow the blogger who wrote the original story seems to have had a romantic relationship with the woman who defended Barnes on Facebook. She was also a teacher at the school Barnes taught at. She had Barrow write the story to make Barnes look like a victim knowing Barnes was a wanted criminal for a serious offense of shooting off a gun. Barrow also had to know Barnes was a wanted criminal in the US but did not disclose that in his story.

    Barrow when confronted with the facts had his lady friend defriend him on her FB page and banned the poster thus all the questions about Barrow’s complicity were deleted.

    Barrow is also the guy who started the Facebook group called. “2pricethailand” the purpose of which is to out all the businesses in Thailand that charge one price for Thais and another price (as much as 10x’s) for foreigners. Barrow does a lot of travel blogging so he was looking for ways to get reduced prices and discounts for himself of course. The irony is that every single post technically violates Thailand’s defamation codes and yet Barrow has not been arrested nor any of the posters.

    Granted the defamation case is separate from the criminal case but who wants to let a nut job who shoots off guns in bars run around freely teaching school kids? Lots of questions for Immigration one would think.

    Third, a representative at the Resort twice stated they only wanted Barnes to delete his reviews in return for which the resort would have the charges dropped. Barnes stated he was not made aware of this and the Resort rep stated he didn’t know if Barnes was made aware of the offer. This whole debacle could have been resolved quickly if in fact the Resort was only interested in having the reviews deleted. Somewhere along the way they changed their minds and went after him.

    Fourth, Trip Advisor reportedly said the original review was never posted and Barnes produced an email from Trip Advisor stating the initial review was NOT accepted as it violated policy. Yet it now appears that it was posted for at least a few days. This article says one week. Who knows the truth?

    Five. No one really knows what happened at the Resort that night but there are at least a few inconsistencies in the accusations made by the Resort as reported. For example why would the manager waive the corkage fee if Barnes and his friend were causing a commotion and perhaps drunk as some people have suggested? You wouldn’t. You would call the cops if he refused to leave. If you were afraid for the safety of the other guests as also reportedly stated by the Resort you would also be brain dead to allow someone to keep drinking.

    Six. Does anyone really believe Barnes was sincere in his apology? Most people with a gun to their heads will say whatever they have to say to get out of the situation.

    Seven. Anyone who went to the TA site would have seen that the Resort had 1900 mostly positive reviews and any individual with an IQ above 10 would have been able to realize that Barnes’ review was pretty much a one off and blown it off. The Resort manager in his reply even stated no one would believe him so why go after the guy? As this article stated it would disappeared in the ether of all the other reviews. A very unwise decision one would think. Was Barnes a jerk? Could have been. If you intertwine his past history one could make the leap yet according to Barnes he agreed to pay the corkage fee and the whole situation was settled until the manager came out with an “attitude’ that pissed him off. And again, Barnes stated they didn’t start drinking until AFTER the manager waived the corkage fee.

    And then there is the reason Barnes had the bottle to begin with. After he and his friend checked in to the hotel (where they paid 6800 baht not 2200 as the resort said) they went down to the beach. It takes about 45 minutes to wait for a tram and the ride itself and they decided since they had been drinking on the beach to dine at the hotel instead of driving to a restaurant so it wasn’t that they intentionally bought the bottle to drink at the resort restaurant. Like I said a lot of he said she said stuff. One can take either side I suppose.

    Kind of difficult to understand why the Resort is moaning about the Red Flag from TA since all they said is you stand a good chance of getting arrested and thrown in jail in Thailand if you post a review the Resort finds offensive since that is exactly what happened.

    Kind of ironic that Barnes was arrested for shooting a gun off in a bar/restaurant yet the one who winds up shooting themselves in the foot is the Resort.

    Like

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