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'Mom, I'm in trouble': Grande Prairie woman faces decade in Thai prison

One of two tourists charged with vandalism for spray painting graffiti on an ancient red-brick wall in northern Thailand is from Grande Prairie, Alta.

Brittney Schneider charged with vandalism for spray painting graffiti on ancient wall

Canadian Brittney Lorretta Katherine Schneider and Briton Furlong Lee face up to 10 years in prison for allegedly spraying paint on an ancient wall in northern Thailand. 0:36

One of two tourists charged with vandalism for spray painting graffiti on an ancient red-brick wall in northern Thailand is from Grande Prairie, Alta.

Thai police said early Friday they had arrested a Canadian and Briton — Brittney Schneider and Furlong Lee, respectively, both 23 — at a guest house in Chiang Mai. They are being held at the provincial court and face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Schneider, 23, faces up to 10 years in prison for vandalism. (Facebook/Brittney Schneider)

Schneider's mother, Tara, told CBC News she'd received a frantic phone call from her daughter.

"Mom, I'm in trouble," she said her daughter told her. "I spray painted an ancient wall and I'm going to prison. And I'm scared."

Closed-circuit TV footage allegedly shows the pair spray-painting a wall near the Tha Phae Gate, the main entrance to the city's old town.

"They admitted to the crime," Police Major Anon Cherdchutrakulthong told Reuters. "When people visit somewhere they should know not to [leave] graffiti."

Anon said they do not yet have a lawyer, adding that the young man and woman showed signs of having been intoxicated.

Tara said her daughter "made a mistake. This is out of character for her."

"I just told her, 'What's done is done,'" she said. 

Brittney Schneider of Grande Prairie, Alta., left, and Furlong Lee from the United Kingdom, second left, stand in front of Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai province, northern Bangkok, Thailand, on Thursday. (The Associated Press)

Bail money has been sent to Thailand so Brittney can be released on Monday, she said. After that, her daughter will have to remain in Thailand until her trial, which could be in two months, she said.

"She has to face it. She's sorry for what she done. But I said stay strong and breathe and go through it."

Schneider said she asked her daughter why she did what she did. 

"She said she's ashamed of herself," Schneider said. "It was an act of being intoxicated."

Tara said Canadian officials told her there is nothing they can do to change local laws in Thailand.

She said she plans to fly to Thailand to support her daughter while she awaits trial.

In addition to 10 years in jail, police said, the young tourists could face fines of up to one million baht, or $40,035 Cdn.

Video footage obtained by Reuters showed the words "Scouser Lee" painted on the wall in an apparent reference to the English city of Liverpool. Thai police did not confirm Lee's hometown.

With files from Reuters