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Phuket governor summoned back to island over ‘Swissgate’

PHOTO: The Phuket Express

The governor of Phuket was ordered to return to the island to oversee the case against Swiss expat, Urs “David” Fehr. He held a media conference yesterday bringing Thai media up to date with the fallout of the highly publicised Swiss man’s actions.

Sophon Suwannarat was on a tourism promotion visit to Germany when Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul summoned him back to the island.

Swiss national Urs Fehr has been charged with assaulting a female Thai doctor and now faces a number of other charges. The story has caused outrage among Thai netizens in Phuket and further afield and prompted a flurry of arrests of other law-breaking foreigners. Whilst being charged with assault against a 26 year old Thai doctor, he has not yet been convicted of the crime and awaits his day in court.

Phuket’s Governor assured reporters he was monitoring the case from Germany and received regular updates from his deputy. The governor adds that Fehr will be prosecuted for assaulting the Thai doctor and that his visa has already been revoked.

Asked about Fehr’s Green Elephant Sanctuary in Cherngtalay, the governor says it’s legally registered and has been paying tax every year. The facility currently has 14 elephants in its care and Sophon says officials are now investigating whether or not it is a genuine charitable foundation or a money-making operation.

The investigation against Fehr has also revealed that he owned a registered pistol and rifle. The rifle was bought in the name of his foundation, but since his assault on the doctor, his gun licence has been revoked.

Sophon adds that he will meet with the Department of Special Investigation on Friday, March 15, to decide if Fehr needs to be investigated for money laundering.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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