It should go without saying that going around vandalizing 800-year-old walls will get you in trouble, but it seems like these tourists had no clue. 23-years-olds Brittany Schneider, a Canadian national, and Furlong Lee, from the UK, were caught spray painting graffiti on the Tha Phae Gate, part of a 13th-century fortress in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and are now being held at the provincial court. If found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $30,500.
Schneider’s mother recounted the panicked phone call she received from her daughter. “Mom, I’m in trouble,” her daughter told her, according to CBC News. “I spray painted an ancient wall and I’m going to prison.” Lee’s mother told the Telegraph that she’s “devastated it’s happened in a historic place…I would also apologize to everyone he’s offended. That’s not how he was brought up but he’s done a stupid thing.” Further complicating matters for the two tourists, the whole incident was caught on camera.
In a telephone interview with the Telegraph, Lee said of his actions, “I’d had some bad news from my family and I went out drinking. I mean, I was really, really drunk.”
In support of her daughter, Schneider’s mother said Brittany “made a mistake: this is out of character for her…she has to face it. She’s sorry for what she’s done. But I say stay strong and breathe and go through it.”
The graffiti was cleaned up, but the consequence of this act of vandalism remains the same. Lee’s passport has been revoked in advance of a court hearing in two weeks. While Brittany Schneider will be released on bail Monday, she will have to remain in Thailand until her trial, which may not take place for two months. Her mother plans to fly to Thailand to be by her side.