Swiss expat Uli Fehr’s assault on Thai doctor Thandao Chandam on Makha Bucha Day incites public outrage in Phuket. The expat now faces a police investigation and a review by provincial authorities. This raises the prospect of legal proceedings, a conviction and possible deportation. That is unless the matter can be resolved amicably between the parties. However, charges are now being pressed.

A Swiss man living in Phuket has had rather a bad week. At length, he may be facing a possible criminal prosecution and ultimately deportation from Thailand. Mr Uli Fehr, also known as David, gave a hurried press conference on Friday apologising unreservedly to a young Thai female doctor. It came after he allegedly physically assaulted the woman on Makha Bucha Day. Evidently, he kicked her in the back as she sat on steps leading from a million baht-a-month seaside residence. A video of the incident, ironically recorded by the accused, has since been released. The public video clip, it appears, corroborates the testimony of the young Thai woman. Certainly, it has also sparked outrage among the public not only in Phuket but across Thailand. The case raises possible concerns about anti-foreigner sentiment.

Scenes from Thalang Police Station in Phuket on Thursday where Dr Thandao, a doctor at Dublik Hospital, pressed criminal charges against 45-year-old Swiss expat Uli Fehr for assault. (Inset Top) Uli Fehr apologises profusely at a high-profile press conference on Friday. (Inset bottom) Screenshot from the damning video clip. It shows the enraged Swiss man marching purposefully and shouting expletives. He then appears to assault the Thai woman.

A middle-aged Swiss man has landed in hot water in Phuket. It comes following a heated altercation with two Thai women on Makha Bucha Day on February 24th. The Swiss national is known in Phuket for links to an admired elephant conservation centre.

At length, he is now being investigated for physically assaulting a young doctor outside his property. The Swiss man is seen on a video obtained by police swearing at the woman and kicking her from behind.

Video clip is harrowing to watch and shows the Swiss man behaving purposefully and violently towards the two young women enjoying the sea shore

However, he insists that this was a slip caused in the heat of the moment.

The clip shows the Swiss man striding purposefully towards the women as they sit quietly on the steps after nightfall. They are enjoying the seashore. His shadow is seen marching towards them. His foot’s shadow is seen moving and a thud is heard. This is his impact on one of the women’s backs.

The young women jump suddenly as he speaks.

‘Get the **** off, Get the **** off, Get the **** off here,’ he exclaims as they run away in fear.

It also revealed that the woman in question who was allegedly assaulted is a qualified doctor.

Significantly, it has since emerged that the attack took place on public land although the expat was unaware of this. He believed it was his property and therefore the women were trespassing.

Incident occurred at night on Makha Bucha Day as the two young women were sitting on steps beneath Mr Fehr’s beachside luxury property on Yamu Beach

The incident unfolded on the evening of February 24, 2024. The scene was at the foot of a luxury villa on Yamu Beach, Phuket, the residence of the Swiss expat. This is located northeast of Phuket City in Thalang.

Ironically, the video itself was, it appears, supplied to police by the Swiss accused.

Mr David, whose identity is Mr Uli Fehr, evidently encountered Dr Thandao Chandam in a fit of rage. She was seated on concrete steps leading to the beach with a friend. The 26-year-old woman is a general practitioner at a private medical clinic in Phuket.

According to Mr Fehr, earlier this week, he was already incensed by Chinese tourists in the vicinity. They had invaded his property causing him a sense of alarm and insecurity.

Swiss man and his wife apologised unreservedly

On Friday, both he and his wife apologised profusely for the incident. 

The Swiss national explained that his exclusive property had been previously invaded by a party of 7 to 8 Chinese people. That was also on Makha Bucha Day.

They had entered the grounds of his residence. Afterwards, they were found observing his wife swimming in the couple’s private swimming pool.

Later, the incident, showing his assault on the Thai woman, was captured on video as he carried out the assault. It has since been widely shared on social media. In short, it has sparked outrage.

The altercation occurred as Dr Thandao and her friend were sitting on concrete steps outside Mr Fehr’s villa. They were enjoying the evening.

Meanwhile, it subsequently emerged that the two women had permission from a security guard at the beach to be there. The security guard had waved them through and encouraged them to enjoy the view.

Swiss man kicked the young woman in the back. On Friday, he explained he was incensed and spooked by an earlier invasion of his home by Chinese tourists

However, without warning or provocation, Mr David or Fehr approached Dr Thandao and allegedly kicked her. This occurred in the moonlight darkness.

The video clip shows the two women sitting together with one looking behind her in shock at the approaching shadow.

The physical act was accompanied by expletives demanding she and her friend leave. The young doctor was assaulted in the upper back on the right-hand side. She was not seriously injured.

Despite initial claims by the Swiss man of a slip and fall, causing the assault, the video certainly shows purposeful aggression.

In a public statement made on March 1, 2024, Mr Fehr and his wife Sai abjectly expressed remorse. Similarly, they extended an apology to the Thai people.

The Swiss expat was accompanied by his wife. Both underlined their love for the country.

Mr Fehr explained that the altercation stemmed from concerns about individuals encroaching on their private space. He cited the previous encounter with Chinese tourists.

Lawyer clarified Mr Fehr’s account to Phuket police that he tripped and fell causing the assault. He did not explain this on February 24 as he was enraged

A lawyer for the couple attended the press conference with reporters.

‘When asked about the incident of slipping and hitting the doctor who was sitting or physical harm, why did he not apologise at that time for saying that he slipped and hit the doctor? Mr David said that the reason for not apologising was because of the previous incident where someone entered his personal space. It made him feel angry at that time,’ disclosed the legal representative.

Furthermore, Mr Fehr clarified that he did not know Dr Thandao was Thai. He assumed she was part of the earlier Chinese group.

He explained that being a foreigner, he found it challenging to communicate in Thai during the altercation. This lack of cultural understanding and language barrier may have contributed to the escalation of tensions.

The incident is now the subject of an investigation by Phuket Provincial Police.

Blow to Swiss man’s legal position as police declare the steps in question were built on public land and must be removed immediately. No trespass offence

Furthermore, there has been another blow to the Swiss man’s position.

Phuket police have confirmed the four low-height concrete steps, where the altercation occurred, are on public property.

In effect, this undercuts any notion of trespassing. The offence is treated as an extremely serious criminal matter in Thailand. This would have added significantly to the Swiss man’s legal position.

As it stands, he is now open to an assault charge because of his erratic and violent behaviour. Certainly, the Thai female doctor and her friend have no case to answer.

In the meantime, the steps have been ordered removed immediately by authorities. They were surveyed this week as part of the police enquiry.

Piling further pressure on the Swiss man is a recent somewhat obscure government directive to authorities in Phuket.

Strict orders from Bangkok to Phuket authorities to crack down on foreigners on the holiday island who impinge on the rights of Thai nationals

It injuncts them to look closely at foreigners misbehaving on the island and to react appropriately.

They are tasked with taking action to protect the interest of Thais whose rights are impinged.

On Friday, it was reported that Governor Sophon Suwannarat’s task force in this matter is reviewing the case. Governor Sophon took up his post in October 2023.

It may or may not decide on corrective action. Certainly, there is a remote possibility of deportation in any event. 

In particular, if Mr David or Mr Fehr is legally prosecuted and subsequently convicted of a criminal offence.

Under Immigration Bureau regulations, this would automatically void his visa to live in Thailand. Thus making deportation inevitable.

It was confirmed on Friday that Mr Fehr is being charged by police with a criminal offence. However, it may still be possible for the matter to be settled amicably between the parties. 

A conviction for the Swiss man would have disastrous repercussions for him

Swiss man, on Friday, denied intending to cause harm. In addition to his apologies and his wife’s, he explained how the unfortunate situation came about

Undoubtedly, Mr Fehr, on Friday, denied any intent to harm.

He explained he was aggravated due to an earlier intrusion by a Chinese tourist party. He is reported to have railed at length on February 24th about the monthly rent of ฿1 million he paid for the property.

At the same time, his inability to communicate and his confusion over the circumstances contributed to his behaviour.

On the other hand, the matter is serious from the point of view of the Thai national.

The qualified doctor has filed a formal complaint that she was assaulted with a kick to the back. All this took place without provocation on public property on Makha Bucha Day (Full Moon). 

The day is significant to Buddhists in Thailand. It is the day Lord Buddha’s teachings to his disciples are celebrated.

In recent days, the testimony provided by Dr Thandao was compelling.

The claim that the Western foreigner used his feet to assault the young woman may be significant. The day that the assault allegedly took place may also prove further problematic.

At the same time, Mr Fehr insists it was an accident. He slipped due to his rage and temper in addition to the confusion caused by earlier events.

Young doctor’s story along with the video clip has caused outrage among Thais after it went public this week. The egregious nature of the incident sparked fury

The story of what happened to the young Thai doctor was revealed on a Facebook page. The page emphasised this was an unprovoked assault by a foreigner in Thailand.

‘My friend and I walked and looked at the moon on the beach for a while. Feeling tired and wanting to sit and rest, we went to sit on the stairs that were planted on the beach. These continued down from Villa No. 23 because we thought they were beach stairs,’ the doctor’s story revealed. 

‘As we were sitting, it felt like someone was walking behind us. So I turned to alert my friend. It felt like someone was walking. Then, I felt a heavy vibration throughout my whole body. When I regained my senses, I realised that it was caused by a foot kicking down the middle of my back.’

The doctor’s story was that she had been assaulted by a red-faced man weighing approximately 100 kgs. He had a phone and was recording the incident as well as cursing.

The story then revealed that they fetched the security guard nearby. The two women returned to the scene of the assault with him. 

Dr Thandao said the security guard, who had earlier welcomed them, was shocked by what he heard. 

At the beach steps, they again encountered the foreigner but this time with his Thai wife. She recalled the Swiss man’s partner was wearing an expensive necklace.

Thai woman and her friends had initially brought the security guard back to the scene to broker some understanding. However, she claims she was threatened

The Thai doctor revealed that the wife of the Swiss man, from the outset, used a highly derogatory term towards them.

She insinuated that she had connections with the police and indeed impunity. In effect, the two women said they were threatened with being imprisoned.

Dr Thandao explained that she had hoped the matter could be resolved amicably before that point. However, the tone of language used by the foreigner’s wife made this impossible.

Dr Thandao and her father, Mr Kasem, met with police on Thursday.

Nevertheless, they initially remained apprehensive about justice due to the expat’s influence. However, the police assured them of fairness in handling the case. Officers emphasised the importance of equitable treatment and pursuit of the law.

In a public plea, Dr Thandao’s father raised concerns about the disparity in legal consequences. He urged for equitable treatment and justice for his daughter. 

He expressed hope that the authorities would uphold the rule of law and ensure accountability for the alleged assault.

Foreigners must be aware and sensitive in Thailand

‘Right now, we’re still worried about whether it will really end with justice. Or whether there will be any intervention because the other side is an influential person. But the police confirmed that we will be treated fairly,’ Dr Thandao said.

Meanwhile, the release of the video clip has intensified public scrutiny and condemnation of Mr Fehr’s actions. Many in the Thai public are demanding swift and appropriate action from the authorities. 

The incident serves as a stark reminder to foreigners in Thailand.

Firstly, it emphasises the importance of cultural sensitivity at all times in the kingdom. Secondly, and as an absolute imperative, the need to avoid confrontation in all situations where at all possible.

Undoubtedly, this incident will generate further anti-foreigner sentiment in Thailand. In brief, this is known to be rising in line with world geopolitical tensions.

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The video of the incident is quite shocking and damning.

Legal situation has darkened for the Swiss expat who is now facing serious criminal charges for causing bodily and mental harm to the young female doctor

On Friday, the press conference was attended by Deputy Governor Adul Chuthong as well as Police Major General Sinlert Sukhum, the provincial police chief.

Police Major General Sinlert revealed that officers at the scene on February 24 tried to get the parties to resolve matters.

However, at this time, Dr Thandao has filed a complaint against the Swiss expat.

On this basis, police on the case are pursuing legal proceedings. This includes a rendezvous at the spot with police investigators during the week.

Consequently, investigators have pressed criminal charges against Mr Fehr. This is for causing bodily and mental harm to the young woman.

Dr Thandao, who works at Dubik Hospital, gave a full formal statement to Thalang Police on Thursday.

In the meantime, Mr Fehr was given three days to remove the concrete steps. This follows another complaint by Dr Thandao who showed conclusively that they were on public land.

The Swiss man, now a suspect in a criminal case, on Friday, said he wished to meet his alleged victim privately. He proposed to offer his apologies and explain what happened. 

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