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‘I'm so sorry for what I did’: Alberta woman facing 10 years in Thai prison
Alex Antoneshyn, CTV Edmonton
Published Tuesday, October 23, 2018 12:43PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2018 3:28PM MDT
The Alberta woman who drunkenly spray-painted an ancient Thailand artifact has said she knew immediately her actions were wrong.
In security camera footage, 22-year-old Brittney Schneider from Grande Prairie can be seen spraying the letter ‘B’ on the walls of the Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Schneider said she and some friends got “ridiculously drunk” in the Thai city last Thursday, and on the way back to their hostel, found a can of spray paint.
"I came to as I finished writing the B and I stopped because I knew it was bad," she said Tuesday in an email interview with The Canadian Press. "But it was already too late."
Schneider and a friend, Lee Furlong from Liverpool, England, have been charged with vandalizing registered ancient artifacts, for which a person can be penalized with up to 10 years in prison and a fine of one million baht, or $40,000.
The Tha Pae Gate is a part of an ancient wall, from the 13th century, that forms a square around Chiang Mai’s inner city.
According to the Alberta woman, she and Furlong returned to their hostel that night but the next morning, Schneider felt guilty.
"The next morning we woke up and were sitting beside the pool and I just remembered what we did and looked over to one of the guys from the night before and said, 'OMG, we spray-painted a wall last night. I'm so scared we're going to get in trouble.'"
Later that morning, police came to the hostel.
"My heart dropped. I knew," said Schneider. "I walked downstairs, opened the door and there were like seven police officers standing there.
"They showed me a video and asked if it was me in the video spray-painting the wall. I said, 'Yes, it was me."'
Schneider and Furlong were arrested and taken to the police station, where they spent the night before court.
"The judge said we could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $40,000," she said. "We had the chance to get bail that day, but it was too late at home so I couldn't get the bail. I spent three nights in prison and got bailed out yesterday."
According to a GoFundMe page, Tara Schneider, Brittney’s mom, was fundraising to go to Chiang Mai to be with her daughter.
“Intoxication is no excuse for what she did,” the fundraiser reads, “but her wellbeing is my main concern, as being in a prison in a foreign country is horrid.”
Brittney said her mom and aunt have arrived in Thailand, but that she’s still grappling with the situation.
"I'm terrified for my life. I'm so sorry for what I did, beyond sorry," she said.
"I'm just so overwhelmed and just want to go home."
With files from the Canadian Press