Last year he was told by the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok that his visa was already cancelled and he was to be deported. He has now been put on a black list by security agencies as a threat to national security.
Controversial French national Yan Eric Marchal was left desperately seeking consular assistance from the French Embassy on Saturday after he was denied entry into Thailand as authorities put into effect a deportation order against him. The French man who has family in Thailand and has been resident in the kingdom for 18 years, has been a controversial figure on social media since 2019. He is known for his critical stance against the current Thai establishment.
A French national who claimed he was the subject of a deportation order in 2020 has been denied entry to Thailand after landing on a flight from France on Saturday.
He has now been deported after catching a flight from Bangkok to Paris the same evening.
An order against 48-year-old Yan Eric Marchal over the weekend was confirmed by Immigration Bureau Deputy Commissioner, Police Major General Achayon Kraithong who, on Saturday, revealed that the Frenchman is listed on several blacklists by a number of security agencies.
Taken into custody pending deportation
The Immigration Bureau officer confirmed that Mr Marchal was being flown to Suvarnabhumi Airport where the process of deporting him from Thailand was to commence.
The Frenchman had made efforts, on Saturday, while in Phuket to make contact with the French Embassy seeking assistance.
He says he was handed a notice by an Immigration Bureau officer in Phuket which explained why he was being refused admission to the kingdom declaring him a threat to national security.
Because of this, officials at Phuket International Airport refused his reentry when he got off the flight.
Incident in early November 2020 when he was told his visa was cancelled and that he faced deportation
The French man was told in early November last year that he was being deported after his visa to stay in Thailand, where he had lived for 17 years, was cancelled and that he was to be deported.
Officials later denied this and said there had been a misunderstanding about the affair which began on the 2nd November 2020 when Mr Marchal went to an Immigration Bureau office in central Bangkok to transfer his visa to a new passport.
Developer made critical anti-government comments at the height of the October 2020 disturbances in Bangkok which embroiled the Royal family
The foreign man, a games developer who has two Thai children, was told his visa was cancelled after police investigated him concerning his online activity in October last during violent demonstrations in Bangkok which embroiled the royal family.
Protester charged with harming the Queen’s liberty claims innocence after his arrest on Friday in Bangkok
One of the incidents that Mr Marchal commented on via Facebook involved the arrest of several men who are believed to have impeded a car carrying the Queen on the 14th October 2020 when it got caught up in a demonstration near Government House.
‘I’m emotionally okay, but I have to think about what to do next’ – French man’s reaction to his threatened deportation last year after routine Immigration visit
Last year, when he was threatened with deportation he appeared unprepared for the development.
‘I knew there was a risk,’ he told reporters then. ‘I’m emotionally okay, but I have to think about what to do next. An officer told me that I would be deported. The reason given was my Facebook activity. I could see that he had a file with a detailed report on my posts, although he did not let me read the details.’
The French man was at the centre of controversy, also a year earlier, in 2019, when he published a humorous video poking fun at the National Council for Peace and Order, the former military junta which went viral and was viewed over one million times.
34-second video clip in 2019 led to a visit by plainclothes police and an apology by the Frenchman
The 34-second video clip targeted a song penned by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha on the theme of bringing happiness to Thailand.
This led to Marchal being visited by plainclothes police who ordered him to remove the clip and he later revealed he had also tendered an apology.
It is reported that Mr Marchal flew to Suvarnabhumi Airport on Saturday to board a plane that evening back to France.
It is understood that Mr Marchal, despite his flight home, may still appeal the order denying him access and consequent deportation back from Thailand to France. The 1979 Immigration Act allows a 48 hour period to make such an appeal to a competent official which must be decided in 7 days.
However, it is not clear if such a motion would have any standing.
The French man told the media that his wife and two children live in Thailand and that he has a business in the kingdom.
The incident is unusual says his lawyer
He told reporters that he was certain he had been barred from the country because of his anti-establishment exploits on social media over the past few years.
His lawyer Natthasiri Bergman a Director of the Human Rights Lawyers Association in Thailand, said that the situation was unusual.
It was her understanding that blacklisting and deportation were actions reserved for foreigners who overstayed their visa or committed egregious breaches of immigration regulations including being convicted of criminal offences.
‘Normally, with an administrative order like this, the individual being denied entry should be told who he has been accused by, and why he has been deemed a threat to the society and should not be allowed in. There should be an opportunity for explanation,’ explained Ms Natthasiri.
Mr Marchal’s activity online has led to him developing a channel on the Chinese based social media site Tik Tok where he now has a large fan base of over 600,000 followers.