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Steps leading to Swiss expat’s villa demolished

PHOTOS: Thai PBS World

The steps leading to a Cape Yamu villa, rented by Swiss expat Urs Fehr and his Thai wife, have been demolished after officials found they were encroaching on a public beach.

While Mr Fehr continues to dominate news headlines, the steps have become famous in their own right, as the location for Mr Fehr’s alleged kicking of a Thai doctor. Hundreds of people visited the site over the last weekend to get an Instagram selfie.

Dr Thandao and her friend were sitting on the steps, watching the moon on the night of February 24, when the Swiss national came down the steps and allegedly kicked the doctor in the back.

Over 10 days later, and what would have otherwise been a minor news story about a violent assault, is still the talk of the island (and further afield).

Fehr has been charged with “assaulting another person causing injury”, which he denies, insisting he slipped and the kick was accidental. Immigration officials are also considering revoking his visa. His case will now go to the Phuket P{provincial Court for adjudication.

The entire sorry saga has provoked outrage among Thais, furious at the assault by a foreigner on one of their own. On Sunday, hundreds (over 500 according to some media reports) descended on Cape Yamu beach in front of Fehr’s villa, calling for his deportation.

Yesterday, the steps were demolished by a backhoe wielding a jackhammer and are now no more than a pile of rubble. The Phuket News reports that another set of steps leading to a nearby wooden deck have also been demolished. As the Swiss renter was not the owner, the owner, or developer of the villas, were responsible for the removal of the encroaching steps.

Meanwhile, news of Fehr’s alleged actions has reached the ears of the top brass in Bangkok, with everyone from the national police chief to the Thai PM weighing in on the matter.

Torsak Sukvimol, Thailand’s national police chief, has ordered an investigation into police officers in Phuket to determine if any have accepted bribes from “influential foreigners” on the island.

PM Srettha Thavisin has instructed the Royal Thai Police and the tourism ministry to ensure foreigners obey the law, with Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul saying those who fail to do so risk having their visas revoked.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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