This is everything we know about the jailed Canadian tourist in Thailand
Published Friday, October 19, 2018 3:17PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 19, 2018 8:47PM EDT
This is everything that’s known about Brittney Schneider, the Canadian tourist who could face up to 10 years behind bars after allegedly spray painting graffiti on an ancient wall in Thailand.
Schneider, along with co-accused Lee Furlong, a British citizen, face a $40,000 fine if convicted of vandalizing a registered ancient artifact. Both 23-year-olds are also facing charges of public mischief and damaging city property.
Her mother, Tara Schneider of Grande Prairie, Alta., told CTV News Channel that she paid her daughter’s bail of $6,000, or $149,000 Thai baht. Schneider said her daughter remains in custody and is “very afraid.” The family hopes she will be released Monday.
Schneider said the alleged behavior is “very out of character” for her daughter.
“She’s never been in trouble in her life,” she said.
The mother said she received a voice message from her frightened daughter at 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, a call at that time wasn’t unusual because Schneider had trouble sleeping because of the time difference.
Once she found out what had happened, she said it felt like “bricks of cement dropped on my shoulders. It was awful.”
According to a Facebook account with her name, Brittany works as a ramp agent with WestJet and has worked out of the Fort McMurray International Airport. The same Facebook account also describes her as a ground service agent at Strategic Aviation Services, which is an aviation services company that offers passenger, cargo and ground support.
However, WestJet would not confirm that Schneider is in fact an employee.
“WestJet does not provide comment on any personal matters regarding employees,” a spokesperson said in a statement to CTVNews.ca.
Schneider and Furlong were due to fly back to their respective homes in the coming days after spending “a considerable amount of time” in Thailand, Reuters bureau chief for Thailand and Indochina Amy Lefevre told CTV News Channel.
Canadian consular officials have arrived in the city and are speaking with the suspects, according to Global Affairs Canada. A spokesperson says provisions in Canada’s Privacy Act prevents Global Affairs from disclosing any further information.
Schneider said her daughter was intoxicated after going out to a local bar and joining in when others started defacing the wall with a can of spray paint they’d found on the ground.
“She did the same thing because she thought it was cool. She didn’t know it was a monument wall — an important wall,” she said tearfully.
Col. Teerasak Sriprasert, chief of the Chiang Mai police, said that Lee admitted that he wrote "Scouser Lee" on the 800-year old wall, while Schneider told police that she wrote the letter "B" underneath it.
Security cameras on the street appear to show the pair picking up a spray can on the ground and defacing the wall near the Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
At the time of their arrests, the graffiti had already been scrubbed off by city workers.
Why the steep penalty?
Authorities hadn’t “seen anything like this for at least a couple of years meaning that no one has dared to spray paint graffiti on this particular wall or any other in the surrounding area,” Lefevre said.
The pair allegedly admitted to police that they had sprayed the message out of drunken revelry. The 13th century Tha Pae Gate is part of an ancient wall that forms a square around Chiang Mai's inner city.
Because the whole wall is a registered landmark, authorities were offended when they were allegedly caught on camera.
They were arrested at the Mad Monkey hostel after CCTV video of the incident made the rounds on social media, according to Evening Standard.
Schneider’s mother said she was travelling in Thailand alone and has a “passion for travelling” and had made lots of friends travelling around the world.
“Brittney is a very likeable person” and called her “very strong,” she added.
Schneider and Furlong are being detained in the city’s provincial court and could remain there for up to 24 hours at which point they’d be allowed to ask for bail.
In a “typical Thai procedure,” Lefevre added that police took the pair back to the previously defaced wall after they had admitted their actions to police. She said that the “routine” action, which looks like a march of shame, would have been the case if it was domestic or foreign-born suspects.
She added that it’s still too early to tell what will happen next but it “seems unlikely” that the pair will face the maximum jail term because of the millions of tourists who arrive in Thailand every year.
With files from The Associated Press