Tourists Facing 10 Years in Prison for Vandalizing Ancient Thai Wall
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In Thailand, being offensive or disrespectful is a serious mistake. And for two tourists, the punishment could be up to 10 years in a provincial prison, in addition to fines of one million baht (roughly $30,450).
According to Reuters, Brittney Schneider of Canada and Furlong Lee of the UK were arrested last Friday for defacing an ancient wall in Chiang Mai.
The tourists, both 23, were caught spray-painting remains of a 13th-century fortress near the Tha Phae Gate. And it’s going to be hard for either Schneider or Lee to convince authorities to go easy on them. Reuters reported that the pair was documented committing the crime on a CCTV.
Police Major Anon Cherdchutrakulthong told Reuters “they admitted to the crime.” He added that “when people visit somewhere, they should know not to [leave] graffiti.”
Schneider’s mother Tara told Canada’s CBC News that, though bail money was sent to Thailand, her daughter must remain in Thailand until the trial — which might not be arranged for two months. She added that Canadian officials said there is “nothing they can do to change local laws in Thailand.”
Tourists behaving badly and defacing a historic site are, sadly, not a rarity.
In November of 2017, for example, Thai authorities fined two American tourists for taking a “butt selfie” in front of a Buddhist temple. And just one month later, an American couple was arrested at a Thai hotel after being filmed tagging a street in Bangkok.
Though butt selfies and vandalism are frowned upon, well, everywhere, travelers need to be especially cautious in this Southeast Asian nation. Here, public nudity is a seriously offensive act, and disrespecting the king in public (think: negative Facebook posts) can land you in prison.
As TPG senior writer Lori Zaino pointed out, there are a number of seemingly harmless behaviors that can be interpreted as rude or disrespectful in Thailand. Even though they might not all land you in prison for a decade, no one wants to be that traveler.
To avoid any cultural faux pas, never use your left hand to eat or pass objects to locals. When exploring Thailand’s famous temples, be sure to cover your shoulders and knees, and to remove your shoes. Never turn your back on Buddha, and be sure to mind your feet: keep them folded to the side or beneath you when sitting.
And seriously — do not insult the king or the Thai monarchy.
Feature photo by Chiang Mai News via AP.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees