Briton and Canadian face prison after spraying 'Scousse Lee' on 800-year-old Thai fortress
A backpacker from Liverpool was facing jail today (October 19) after spraying ''Scousse Lee'' on an 800-year-old Thai fortress.
Lee Furlong, 23, was caught on CCTV using a can of black spray paint to tag the historic Tha Phae gate in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, on October 18 at 4am.
The graffiti – which read ''Scousse Lee'' and ''B'' on the line below – sparked outrage from locals who accused the traveller of disrespecting the ancient 13th-century monument and their country.
Police launched a manhunt and Furlong, as well as Canadian woman Brittney Schneider, 23, who was with him at the time and sprayed ''B'', were arrested yesterday afternoon.
Officers frogmarched them to the site – which had already been cleaned – where they confessed to the crime. The pair now faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a one million baht (25,000gbp) fine for desecrating a historical site.
Lieutenant Colonel Teerasak Sriprasert from Chiang Mai police said: ''The graffiti says ''Scousse Lee''. This means ''Scouser Lee from Liverpool''. The girl is called Brittney and she wrote a letter 'B' on the wall.
''Officers investigated the vandalism after it was seen on CCTV cameras. The offenders were tracked to a guest house near the same road as the wall.
''The accused will be investigated and prosecuted according to the law.''
Lieutenant Colonel Teerasak took the pair to the wall yesterday where they were seen standing in front of the crime scene and pointing to where the graffiti was.
He added: ''The accused were questioned and confessed that the incident happened earlier in the morning at 4am.''
Cops said that Furlong and Schneider told them they had been drinking with friends at a nearby restaurant until they were drunk.
They were walking back to the Mad Monkey Hostel when they found the spray paint lying on the ground and decided to graffiti the wall as a ''prank''.
Furlong is seen spraying ''Scousse'' before the Canadian girl puts the first initial of her name below. The Liverpudlian then finished the tag off with his name ''Lee''.
The pair only stopped when a passing tuk-tuk driver intervened and told them off, at which point they left the spray can and walked back to the hostel.
Residents reported the crime at first light and it took police just a couple of hours to track down the pair.
They now face prosecution under Thailand's Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums act 1961, section 32, which carries a maximum punishment of ten years in prison and/or a one million baht fine for ''anyone who invades an ancient site, or damages, destroys, degrades or renders it useless''.
Tha Phae gate is part of a crumbling wall was built in the 13th century as a fortress to protect the city of Chiang Mai. It is the centre of tourism in the bustling northern city popular with backpackers and is surrounded by bars, restaurants, hotels, markets, massage parlours and shops.