'My Mate Nate' fined B5,000 in coin case (Updated)

'My Mate Nate' fined B5,000 in coin case (Updated)

Online prankster Nathan Bartling has escaped with a 5,000 baht fine for placing coins on rail tracks, but he still faces a charge of animal cruelty. BENJAPOL AMORNJIRIASAK
Online prankster Nathan Bartling has escaped with a 5,000 baht fine for placing coins on rail tracks, but he still faces a charge of animal cruelty. BENJAPOL AMORNJIRIASAK

Police on Wednesday fined online prankster Nathan Bartling and his friend 5,000 baht each for their stunt of placing coins on rail tracks for trains to run over – and a much higher fine for alleged cruelty to animals may follow.

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Thursday morning update

My Mate Nate fined B5,000 in coin case

Police on Wednesday fined online prankster Nathan Bartling, 24, and his friend 5,000 baht each for their stunt of placing coins on rail tracks for trains to run over – and a much higher fine for alleged cruelty to animals may follow.

At the Prawet station, police fined the American and his Thai friend Nat Veerothai, 22, for breaking the traffic law by placing obstructions on a transportation route in an unsafe or inconvenient manner, and violating the Railway and Highway Act by trespassing on the State Railway of Thailand's land and damaging its property.

At the station, Mr Bartling again apologised for their actions, saying he would continue to make video clips for his YouTube channel "My Mate Nate" -- but they would no longer "affect the feelings of Thai people".

Regarding his video clip of a cat fighting a scorpion, he said he bought the scorpion from a man who ate such animals on Khao San Road. He happened to notice the scorpion fighting the cat, he claimed, and just recorded them.

The scorpion's stinger had been removed, and he brought the cat to a veterinarian, who pronounced it healthy, Mr Bartling said.

Tuesday afternoon update

Pol Col Alongkorn Sirisongkram, chief of the Prawet police, said on Tuesday Nathan Bartling would be charged with trespassng under a 1921 law on railways and highways and with cruelty to animals.

Mr Bartling has been told to report to Prawet police at 2pm on Wednesday to acknowledge the charges, the station chief said.

The trespassing charge carried a fine of 100 baht, he said.

He would ask the State Railway of Thailand if it also wanted to accuse Mr Bartling of damaging state property, as there were scratches left on the rails.

American Nathan Bartling, sitting next to deputy director of the State Railway of Thailand Tanongsak Pongprasert, makes a formal apology for his latest prank video in which he placed coins on a rail track for trains to run over. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

Tuesday morning story

'My Mate Nate' charged, vows to continue prank videos

Police on Monday briefly detained and charged YouTube prankster Nathan Bartling, aka "My Mate Nate", with trespassing on railway land and damaging railway property by placing coins on a rail track for trains to run over.

The legal action came after Mr Bartling posted a video on his YouTube channel My Mate Nate on July 16 in which he claimed he set out to test the durability of coins from several countries by placing them on railway tracks so trains would run over them.

He specified he did not use Thai coins, which could have resulted in lese majeste charges.

American Nathan Bartling, best known by his online alias as 'My Mate Nate', faces charges of trespassing on railway land and damaging railway property. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

The video sparked widespread criticism accusing Mr Bartling of reckless behaviour, setting a bad example for youngsters and showing no regard for train passenger safety. He later removed the video.

On Monday, Mr Bartling visited the headquarters of the State Railway of Thailand, and formally apologised. He claimed his only intention was to test the coins' strength. Authorities are considering pressing more charges under the Criminal Code.

The stunt with the coins was not the first time the American has found himself in the spotlight. Among his videos have been one making fun of the English skills of Thai students and another showing a cat being made to fight a scorpion.

Mr Bartling's detractors are many and vociferous. Their latest act is a petition to the government to remove the visa of the American, and throw him out of the country.

The Change.org petition calling for Nathan's visa to be revoked.


The Change.org petition at http://bit.ly/2vqtUBz had attracted more than 58,000 supportive signatures by midnight Monday.

He is impervious to criticism, his "apologies" are weaselly and arguably insincere "explanations" of offensive actions, and even his comments on his undeniable law-breaking with the railways are far more smart-aleck than smart. He posted the SRT's statement on the coins on the track with this bland reply: "Good to know. Thanks for helping us understand."

The frequently offensive American has turned a part-time gig of YouTube video-making into a job, already earning handsome profits at YouTube alone.

He has 3.3 million followers on the Google-owned service, and his videos attract up to 10 million viewers each.  Viewing a video one time triggers up to 17 adverts – each resulting in a small payment to Mr Bartling. If a viewer clicks on an advertisement, it's a much bigger payoff.

Thai law requires internet-based workers to have a work permit, which he has never had. He said he is seeking a work permit to work at My Mate Nate Studio and expects to get it soon.

But in addition to his apparently illegal online work, Mr Bartling also runs a "souvenir" business from his various websites including YouTube, where he advertises and sells "My Mate Nate merchandise" such as caps (400 baht) T-shirts (350 baht) and, weirdly, a branded drone model that has his cartoon image on the top. It costs 1,990 baht.

Mr Bartling admits he has never had a work permit. But, merchandise sales aside, he has a non-trivial income from his online activities.

It is impossible to pinpoint that income. Industry watchers Tubefilter.com figures that the 1,000 top-earning YouTube channels in the world receive an annual average income from Google of $23,000, or more than 800,000 baht. Mr Bartling's viewers, subscribers and commenters are well above the average required to earn that figure.

But there's more. Mr Bartling's Facebook account has nearly a million followers (997,137, as of midnight Monday). He receives advertising commissions on that site, and he also uses Facebook to sell his merchandise.

An actual website touts his YouTube-Facebook sites and – no surprise – sells his merchandise. It also promotes his original business ideas such as for-hire video production. And his merchandise.

So far, the 24-year-old YouTuber has been legally charged with two offences under the SRT Actillegal entry onto State Railway of Thailand (SRT) premises and causing damage to the rail track and SRT property.

Prawet district police chief Alongkorn Sirisongkram said that if further examination finds his act caused serious damage, Mr Bartling will face criminal charges of encroaching on state land and causing property damage, Pol Col Alongkorn said.

If he is charged and found guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison and a fine of 14,000 baht.

In a press conference Monday, Mr Bartling said  "I could have got a flight home, but I'm not running from the problem. I'm taking responsibility, and I'll continue to make videos."

Monday evening, immigration police took Mr Bartling to the Immigration Bureau to check his entry documents. They found he holds a Non-B visa and is seeking an extension to his stay.

The authorities later released him.

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Vocabulary

  • accuse: to say that someone has done something wrong or committed a crime - กล่าวหา
  • acknowledge: to let someone know you have received something or the you understand what it is - รับทราบ
  • Act: a law passed by a country’s government - พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
  • admit: to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ
  • advertisement (noun): advert; a short piece of video or words with pictures that makes people interesting in buying some product - การโฆษณา
  • aka: .... Also Known As .... , .... AKA.... -
  • alias: used when a person, especially a criminal or an actor, is known by two names; used before a different name that someone uses instead of their real name - ฉายา, สมญานาม
  • alleged: claimed to be true although not yet proven; claimed to have done something wrong but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
  • annual: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
  • apologise: to say you are sorry for doing something wrong or for causing a problem - ขอโทษ
  • arguably: seems to be..., there are good reasons or evidence to show that it is .... -
  • authorities: people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • average: an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย
  • behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
  • bland: with little colour, excitement or interest; without anything to attract attention - ที่ไม่น่าสนใจ, ขาดรสชาติ
  • branded (adj): having a brand name - มีชื่อแบรนด์
  • briefly: for a short time - ชั่วครู่, สั้นๆ, ในเวลาสั้นๆ
  • charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
  • charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • claim: to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - อ้าง
  • commission: an amount of money that is paid to somebody for selling goods and which increases with the amount of goods that are sold - ค่านายหน้า, ค่าคอมมิชชั่น
  • considering: thinking about a particular fact and being influenced by it - พิจารณาถึง
  • criminal: illegal; against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
  • Criminal Code: the systems of laws dealing with crimes and their punishment - ประมวลกฎหมายอาญา
  • criticism: comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad - การวิจารณ์
  • cruelty: behaviour that deliberately causes pain to other people or animals - อย่างโหดเหี้ยม
  • deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
  • detained: kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
  • detractor: someone who criticises something or someone, often unfairly - ผู้กล่าวร้าย
  • drone (noun): an aircraft (or ship) without a pilot, controlled from the ground - เครื่องบินไร้คนขับที่ควบคุมด้วยวิทยุทางไกล
  • durability: being able to stay in good condition for a long time - ทนทาน
  • encroachment: gradually entering and taking control over an area of land - การบุกรุก
  • extension: making a period of time longer - การขยายออกไป
  • feelings (noun): the emotions someone feels, such as anger or happiness - ความรู้สึก, อารมณ์
  • figure: a number representing a particular amount, especially one given in official information - ตัวเลข, จำนวนเลข
  • fine: an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law - ค่าปรับ
  • fine: to be required to pay an amount of money because you have broken the law - ปรับเป็นเงิน
  • formally: officially; following an agreed or official way of doing things - อย่างเป็นทางการ
  • gig: a single job for someone such as a musician, a presenter, a comedian, etc. - งานชั่วคราว
  • guilty: having been decided by a court of law that you committed the crime your were accused of - มีความผิด
  • handsome: of a large amount of something, especially money -
  • headquarters: the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - สำนักงานใหญ่ กองบัญชาการ
  • hire: to pay someone to work for you - จ้าง
  • illegal: against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
  • image: a photograph, painting, or other work of art that represents a person or thing - รูปภาพ
  • Immigration Bureau: the government agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country and those who want to live there - สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
  • immigration police: the police agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country - สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
  • impervious: not influenced or affected by something - ไม่สะดุ้งสะเทือน
  • income: money that someone gets from working or from investing money - รายได้
  • inconvenient: causing difficulties or extra effort - ซึ่งไม่สะดวก
  • industry: the people and activities involved in producing a particular thing, or in providing a particular service; the production of goods from raw materials, especially in factories - อุตสาหกรรม
  • insincere: pretending to feel something that you do not really feel, or not meaning what you say - ซึ่งไม่จริงใจ
  • intention: a plan in your mind to do something - ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ
  • legal: relating to the law - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
  • legally: relating to the law - ตามกฎหมาย
  • lese majeste: the crime of offending, threatening or showing disrespect for a member of the royal family - หมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ
  • make amends: to try to make a situation better after you have done something wrong - ชดใช้
  • making fun of: laughing at somebody/something or making other people laugh at them, usually in an unkind way - น่าหัวเราะเยาะ, หยอกล้อ
  • manner: way - วิธีการ
  • merchandise: goods that are bought and sold - ผลิตภัณฑ์, วัตถุที่ซื้อขายกัน
  • obstruction: something that blocks a road, an entrance, etc - สิ่งกีดขวาง
  • offence: a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment - การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
  • offensive: causing someone to become upset or angry; rude - ซึ่งทำให้ไม่พอใจ,น่ารังเกียจ
  • passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
  • payoff (noun): an advantage or a reward from something you have done - ผลที่ตามมา
  • petition: a request of someone in authority to do something - คำร้อง
  • pinpoint: to discover or explain exactly what something is - เจาะจง
  • prank: a trick that is played on somebody as a joke - การล้อเล่น, การเล่นตลก
  • prankster: someone who enjoys doing pranks - คนขี้เล่น,คนพิเรน
  • premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
  • press charges: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
  • press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
  • prison: a place where criminals are put to stay for a period of time as punishment for a crime - คุก, ,เรือนจำ
  • profits (noun): money that you make from selling goods and services after all your costs have been paid - กำไร
  • pronounce (verb): to say or give something formally, officially or publicly - ประกาศ
  • property: a building or buildings and the surrounding land - อสังหาริมทรัพย์
  • reckless (adj): doing something dangerous and not worrying about the risks and the possible results - ชะล่าใจ, เสี่ยง, ไม่ยั้งคิด
  • regard (noun): attention to or thought and care for somebody/something - ความเอาใจใส่, ความสนใจ, ความเคารพ
  • release: to allow someone to go free - ปล่อยตัว
  • remove (verb): to take something away - เอาออกจาก
  • revoke: to officially say that something is no longer legal, e.g., a contract, a law, a document, etc. - เพิกถอน
  • route: the roads, paths, waterways, etc., used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง
  • scorpion (noun): a small creature like an insect with eight legs, two front claws (= curved and pointed arms) and a long tail that curves over its back and can give a poisonous sting.Scorpions live in hot countries. - แมงป่อง
  • scratches: thin marks on a surface - รอยข่วน, รอยถลอก, รอยกรีด
  • signature (noun): a person's name written in a special way by the person - ลายมือชื่อ
  • skills (noun): the ability to do certain things well, usually as a result of experience and training - ฝีมือ, ทักษะ
  • smart-aleck (noun): a person who thinks they are very clever and likes to show people this in an annoying way -
  • society (noun): people in general, living together in communities - สังคม
  • souvenir: something that you get to remind you later of being at a particular place or event - ของที่ระลึก
  • spark: to make something happen, especially something bad - ก่อให้เกิด
  • specified: describing and telling people about something very exactly and with detail - โดยเฉพาะ, เฉพาะเจาะจง
  • spotlight (noun): the centre of public attention - จุดสนใจของผู้คน, เป็นที่สนใจ
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • stinger (noun): the sharp pointed part of an insect or creature that can go into the skin leaving a small, painful and sometimes poisonous wound - เหล็กไนของแมลง
  • stunt: something silly or unusual to which is done to get public attention -
  • take responsibility for: to say or admit you are the cause of something, usually something bad - แสดงความรับผิดชอบ
  • tout: to praise someone or something because you want other people to think they are good or important - พูดคุยอวด
  • tracks: marks or lines of marks showing the direction that something has moved - ร่องรอย
  • transportation: the process of moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
  • trespassing: going onto someone's land or enter their building without permission - การบุกรุก,การรุกล้ำ
  • trigger: to cause - ก่อให้เกิด กระตุ้น
  • trivial: having little value or importance; of a problem that is easy to solve - ไม่สำคัญ, เล็กๆ น้อยๆ
  • undeniable (adj): true or certain; that cannot be denied - ปฏิเสธไม่ได้
  • veterinarian: a person with a medical degree trained to take care of the health of animals - สัตวแพทย์
  • violate: to do something that is against the law - ละเมิดกฏหมาย
  • vociferous (adj): expressing your opinions or feelings in a loud and confident way - ซึ่งร้องหนวกหู, ตะโกนร้อง,เสียงดังเอะอะโวยวาย
  • vow: to make a formal and serious promise to do something or to promise what you say is true - สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
  • weaselly (adv): in a way that attempts to avoid doing something, e.g., admitting that you have done something wrong -
  • weirdly (adv): strangely - น่าแปลก
  • widespread: happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people - อย่างแพร่หลาย
  • work permit (noun): the official permission for a foreigner to work in a country - ใบอนุญาตทำงาน
  • youngster: a young person or a child - คนหนุ่มคนสาว, เด็ก
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