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Brit, Canadian caught for tagging historic Chiang Mai gate, face 10 years in Thai prison

Coconuts logo Coconuts 19/10/2018 Coconuts Bangkok
a person standing in front of a brick wall: tag2 tag2

Two young Brit and Canadian nationals were arrested yesterday afternoon after they were identified from CCTV footage as having tagged Chiang Mai’s historic city gate.

British Lee Furlong and Canadian Brittney Schneider, both 23, were nabbed at Mad Monkey Hostel, about 700 meters from the Tha Phae gate, which they confessed to having spray-painted at about 4am on Thursday, Springnews reported.

While the text was mistakenly reported as “Scougge Lee B” in local media (and honestly, that’s pretty much what it looked like to us), Furlong told police that he had actually spray-painted the word “Scouser Lee,” a play on the longtime nickname for Liverpudlians: “Scousers.”

Schneider, meanwhile, took credit for the “B” on the wall, a reference to her first initial. The other two men seen with them in the security footage didn’t take part in the vandalism and have not been arrested nor identified.

Furlong said that before his group arrived at the city gate, they stumbled upon a can of spray paint on the street. They did not realize that it was illegal to spray-paint on a historic wall, and considered their action “artistic expression.”

Reader Quiz: Which of the assertions in the preceding paragraph sound dubious to you? If you answered “three,” congratulations!

a man riding a motorcycle in front of a brick building: Photo: Sanook © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Photo: Sanook

Whether they actually believe a crappy tag qualifies as art is up for debate, but if it does, it’s a piece of art that will come with an exceedingly high price tag. The two were charged with damaging an ancient monument and is facing up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of a whopping THB1 million (about US$30,700) maximum.

Terdsak Yenjura, director of Thailand’s Ancient Monument Conservation Association, said that he had assigned experts to clean the paint off the city gate, and luckily, it came off. Whew.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story, based on media reports, identified all four foreign nationals as men. Brittney Schneider is clearly not.

 

Related:

Chiang Mai vandals: Netizens demand arrest of 4 tourists who tagged ancient city gate

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