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Hundreds gather on Phuket beach demanding Swiss to ‘get out’ of Thailand

PHOTO: Thai Rath


Hundreds of people gathered at a beach on the east side of Phuket yesterday to show their anger at a Swiss man who allegedly kicked a female doctor. Nation Thailand reports that around 300 people gathered at Yamu Beach, near the villa the man shares with his Thai wife.

The story has continued to dominate the headlines and social media since the man’s altercation with a female Thai doctor Saturday, February 24. Yesterday, at around 9.30am, angry locals held a “picnic” at the beach, which was organised under the slogan, “Get Out David”. Some Thais were singing the national anthem and demanding that ‘David’ be deported immediately and banned from returning.

Some online commentary went even further with violent responses to the beach incident.

The expat who has got them so riled up is 45 year old Urs “David” Fehr, understood to be the owner of an elephant sanctuary in the Thalang district. He is accused of kicking Dr Thandao Chandam in the back as she sat on some steps leading to his villa residence.

The Swiss man disputes the doctor’s version of events, saying he didn’t intend to kick her, but slipped as he was coming down the steps, causing his foot to strike her. However, video footage circulating widely on social media does not back up his claim, as it shows Fehr shouting and swearing loudly at the woman and her friend, along with some four-letter foul language.

According to the report, Fehr’s Thai wife allegedly also threatened the doctor, saying she knew “some senior police officers in Phuket” and could “have the medic imprisoned”. Her threats later turned out to be ‘exaggerated’.

For her part, Thandao says she’s sad that a foreigner would come to Thailand and treat Thai people badly. Her claims have prompted outrage among many Thais, leading to yesterday’s protest picnic. The rally was held to make the point that all beaches are public property and everyone is entitled to use them.

It’s understood that during the protest, people held banners demanding that “David” leave the country. Many also shouted, “David, get out, we hate you”.

Meanwhile, there was no sign of Fehr or his wife, who have remained silent since Saturday night. Their car was not at the property during yesterday’s rally and it’s assumed they were not home.

Following accusations of encroachment, local officials have checked the steps leading to the Swiss man’s villa and confirmed all but one of the steps are on a public beach and will be demolished.

Ahead of the demolition, many Thais are now coming to pose on the steps for selfies as a way of showing their solidarity with the doctor.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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