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Phuket governor confirms Swiss expat’s visa appeal will be heard

PHOTO: Facebook/Urs Fehr

The governor of Phuket has confirmed that an appeal on behalf of Urs Fehr will be heard, to determine whether or not his visa remains cancelled.

The Swiss national’s visa was revoked by Thailand’s Interior Minister, Anutin Charvirakul, after he allegedly kicked a female Thai doctor who was sitting on steps leading to his rented Cape Yamu villa. The steps were later judged to have been illegally built as they were on a public beach and have now been demolished, although they had been constructed before the Swiss man’s rental of the property.

For his part, Fehr claims he didn’t intentionally kick the doctor but slipped while making his way down the steps. His defence fell on deaf ears however, with the Immigration Bureau deciding to revoke his visa under instruction from the Interior Minister.

Now the governor of Phuket says an appeal in relation to that decision will go ahead. Sophon Suwannarat adds that the assault case involving the doctor is still being heard in court.

Dr Thandao, who works at Dibuk Hospital, was sitting on steps leading to Fehr’s villa on the evening of February 24 when the incident unfolded, leading to a huge fallout that continues today. The whole debacle led to a crackdown and several widely publicised arrests of “foreigners behaving badly” both in Phuket and elsewhere in the country.

In March, Fehr’s visa was revoked, but Sophon says an appeal against that decision will be heard.

“An appeal hearing will be held soon with the central level committees and Immigration with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior as Chairman of the committee.”

This despite the Interior Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, responding with “Not under this interior minister’s watch” when asked about the possibility of an appeal.

The Bangkok Post reports that Anutin has also posted on his Facebook page, urging Sophon to reject any lobbying attempts on behalf of the Swiss expat.

“Don’t let lobbying happen, Phuket governor. Hold a press conference to confirm your stance that you will not let bribe-taking happen to have the case overturned.”

Sophon has responded to deny that any lobbying attempts are taking place.

“I would like to confirm that there is no person or group from the Phuket Provincial Office lobbying to help with the case, and (confirm) that government officials will strictly carry out their duties according to their authority.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News | Bangkok Post

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