THE British and Canadian tourists who sprayed graffiti on Chiang Mai’s old city wall near the Tha Phae gate are at the center of an online storm as to whether the penalty, maximum 10 years in jail and/or maximum 1 million baht fine, is too severe, Sanook.com reported this morning (Oct 22, 2018).
Chiang Mai police arrested the 2 tourists who confessed that they sprayed the graffiti out of recklessness.
They have been charged according to the Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums, B.E. 2504 (1961) Section 32 which states that whoever damages such sites faces maximum 10 years in jail and/or not more than 1 million baht fine.
This has triggered a debate on the suitability of this penalty as foreign media has covered the case. Both BBC and Reuters ran reports about the arrest of the 2 tourists and also mentioned that they do not have a lawyer even though the British embassy wants to send someone to help and advise them.
Netizens are following this issue on #ScouserLee with some of them agreeing with the level of penalty while others do not.
Twitter user @F0LL0W_F0LL0W said 10 years in jail is fit punishment for damaging an over 800 years old structure.
However @Jen_Dodgson said suitable penalty is 6 months in jail but heavier penalty could be coming because they announced themselves to be Scousers which is what people from Liverpool are called.
Top: The graffiti besmeared old city wall with the image of the suspects spraying it on inset. Photo: Sanook.com