Fury of Phuket locals against Swiss man Uli Fehr who allegedly assaulted a 26-year-old female doctor on the night of Makha Bucha Day. Activists also rail against private beaches after the incident. Legal action is reportedly imminent as the police chief refers to visa cancellations and the blacklisting of badly behaved visitors to the holiday island. However, police sources later suggested this may not apply in this case. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin calls for peace and understanding. He did not want to inflame tensions.

On Sunday, the Phuket public voiced their anger and condemnation of an alleged violent assault by a Swiss man. The victim of the attack was a young Thai female doctor, Dr Thandao Chandam, who was stargazing at Yamu Beach in Pa Khlok, Thalang on February 24. The night she was attacked was the Buddhist holiday of Makha Bucha. The protest went off peacefully and was attended by 500 locals and activists. The scene of the rally was the location of the beachfront assault. In the meantime, it has emerged that police have forwarded charges to court against 45-year-old Uli Fehr. Significantly, the Phuket police chief told reporters that the force was looking at revoking visas and blacklisting foreigners who behave inappropriately on the island. Later, police sources ruled such a sanction out in Mr Uli’s case, at least for now.

Emotions are still running high in Phuket in response to an alleged assault by Swiss national Uli Fehr (inset left) on a Thai female doctor on February 24th. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin (insetright) called for peace and harmony. However, he said he had given instructions to police and tourism officials to brief foreigners on the need to strictly uphold Thailand’s laws. On Sunday, over 500 people attended a beach protest on the site of the incident at Yamu Beach in front of Mr Fehr’s residence in Thalang, Phuket.

Tensions were still high in Phuket Thalang district on Sunday. It came following the controversial assault by a Swiss national on a young female Thai doctor on February 24.

The assault on Dr Thandao Chandam occurred on the night of Makha Bucha Day. Makha Bucha is a Buddhist occasion in Thailand when Lord Buddha’s teachings are celebrated.

Protest rally at the foot of the Swiss man’s luxury villa home. Indeed at the illegal steps where a 26-year-old Thai female doctor was kicked in the back

On Friday, the Swiss man was called in by Thalang Police Station to acknowledge an assault charge. 

Later, the 45-year-old Uli Fehr and his wife gave a press conference.

Despite the couple’s emotional apologies, feelings over the weekend escalated.

On Sunday morning, approximately 500 people gathered on Yamu Beach.

It came as police confirmed that the matter was sent to Phuket Kaeng Court. Legal proceedings will follow against the foreigner.

The Swiss man allegedly, in an unprovoked manner, kicked the 26-year-old Thai female doctor with his foot in the back.

On Sunday, Mr Uli and his Thai wife Khanuengnit were not seen at their ฿1 million a month home as the protest took place.

This in itself is rather disturbing and underlines the dangerous nature of the situation which has developed.

Some reports suggest that the couple had to move to another location.

Phuket police were at the scene not only in uniform but also in plain clothes, to observe proceedings.

At the same time, the security firm that guards the private enclave ushered cars and ensured safe parking.

PM assures news reporters that matters will not escalate as he commented on the controversy in Phuket on Sunday. He said foreigners must abide by Thai law

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin assured reporters that the matter would not escalate. 

Similarly, the PM has assured foreign tourists and expats that they are protected in Thailand.

He said he had ordered the police and the Tourism Ministry accordingly. However, he said that foreigners in Thailand must be instructed to be sensitive to the country’s customs.

Mr Srettha stressed that it was important that foreigners in the kingdom abide strictly by Thailand’s laws.

At the same time, he said he did not want to say anything to escalate tensions. The PM said he wished to see peace and harmony.

Protesters came from across the province on Sunday as anger mounted over the egregious behaviour of Swiss national Uli Fehr on the night of February 24

Phuket residents from across the province nevertheless mobilised to protest against the Swiss man, Uli ‘David’ Fehr. 

Mr Fehr now faces a charge of assault on the local doctor, Dr Thandao Chandam. Dr Thandao works at Dubik Hospital on the island.

The site of the assault was the location of Sunday’s rally. The steps near his beachfront villa. On Sunday protesters were pictured at the steps. 

The yellow signs at the corners of the illegal steps were still in place. They read ‘Private Property – No Trespassing’ with a forbidden sign on a yellow background.

On Thursday, the same steps were ordered removed by the local authority.

This happened after police and officials ascertained that they were on public property.

Disturbing viral video shocked online audiences

On February 24, Fehr allegedly kicked Dr Thandao.

The alleged assault was captured on a disturbing video which has gone viral.

Indeed, the video itself was recorded by Mr Fehr.

The Swiss man claimed he was spooked by previous Chinese trespassers on the night in question. Additionally, he claimed to have been certain that he was dealing with trespassers.

In short, it has transpired he was on public property.

Swiss man’s seaside paradise turns sour as Phuket police press assault charges after doctor’s complaint

The 26-year-old doctor and a friend were quietly stargazing at the spot when set upon by the Swiss businessman.

Unquestionably, he used abusive language exhorting them to get off the property.

The incident has sparked outrage. It has led to mounting pressure for Fehr’s expulsion from Thailand by locals. 

Sunday’s protest was also about the public’s right to Thai beaches. Those at the rally railed against moves by commercial developers to privatise beaches

Significantly, on Sunday, there were also strong demands for the restoration of public beach access.

Protesters called for this not only on Yamu Beach but all beaches in Phuket and throughout the kingdom.

The local people identified commercial property developers who are increasingly privatising public beaches. Many locals pointed to corruption

‘We want to participate in the demand for the restoration of public access to Yamu Beach, a public beach. It turns out that foreigners are occupying too many areas. Please resolve this,’ said 56-year-old Suchart Jorasakul, from Tambon Koh Kaew.

On Sunday, Pa Khlok Mayor, Panya Sampaorat, told reporters that two other sites also had demolition orders applied this week.

These were located at another set of steps and a private lounging platform erected on public land. Two further properties were linked to demolition orders.

Very strong sense of anger and animosity towards the Swiss man. Calls for him to be deported from Thailand with written placards such as ‘Get out David’

The rally on Sunday included residents and activists. Demonstrators voiced their condemnation of Fehr’s actions and advocated for beach access rights.

Signs reading ‘Get out David’ and ‘Beaches are for the public’ echoed the sentiments of the crowd.

Certainly, others were more provocative. The public was in an unforgiving mood given the fact that the alleged unprovoked assault was on a young woman.

There seemed little sympathy for Mr Fehr’s claims that he slipped and accidentally kicked the woman.

Some protesters waved Thai flags and sang the national anthem. 

Others came to personally support the young doctor who had tried on the night of February 24 to resolve the situation amicably.

However, later, she was abused and threatened by the couple in addition to the alleged assault.

Prasit Wongkajorn, a local resident participating in the protest, was initially open-minded about this. 

He explained: ‘Whether or not it was intentional physical harm is not clear, that is for the legal process to decide. As for myself, I came here today to see the place with my own eyes, and from what I see the doctor was the victim. I came to support the doctor.’

Broader issue of public ownership of land and amenities

The incident has also raised broader issues of land use and access rights in Phuket.

Many residents expressed concerns about the encroachment of private developments on public beach land.

Mr Suchart from Tambon Koh Kaew emphasised the need for authorities to clearly demarcate private properties from public areas. He called for officials to ensure access to beaches for all.

Housing estates replacing natural landscapes have restricted public access to beaches, lamented Somboon Sampaorat. He is a resident of tambon Pa Khlok.

He said: ‘In the past people could walk along the beach. After foreign developers arrive and there are housing estates, access is restricted.’

Activists from the People Movement for a Just Society (P-Move) joined the rally.

They demanded the return of public beach access. They raised banners with messages urging authorities to address foreign ownership encroachments and ensure public spaces remain accessible to all.

Phuket Police chief on Sunday suggested local officials are looking at revoking visas of those who behave improperly and blacklisting them from Thailand

In response to the growing outcry, Phuket police chief Police Major General Sinlert Sukhum made a statement.

‘Officials would consider a blacklist or visa revocation against foreigners who violated laws in Phuket.’ This reflects mounting concerns over foreign influence and property ownership in the region.

However, later, police sources suggested that a visa revocation may not apply in this case. They explained that Mr Fehr’s stay in Thailand had been reviewed.

In the meantime, they accepted that a legal case was being prosecuted for assault. Nevertheless, they also pointed to the Swiss national’s denial of the charge against him.

Despite Fehr’s denial of intentional harm, the incident underscores broader tensions regarding land use and access rights in tourist destinations like Phuket.

Residents were united in their call for justice for the 26-year-old Thai female doctor. 

Simultaneously, they were agitating for the preservation of public spaces for all to enjoy.

Local authority now taking legal proceedings against three villa properties to have constructions removed including the one Mr Uli and his wife live in

The villa steps where the incident occurred were found to encroach on public beach land.

Tambon Pa Klok municipality filed a complaint against a Phuket private company. The company is responsible for the villa project.

Tambon Pa Khlok mayor Panya Sampaorat revealed that further inspections uncovered two more illegal constructions. These were encroaching on the beach, including wooden stairs and a lounging ground.

Meanwhile, Fehr and his wife were summoned to Thalang police station to acknowledge a physical assault charge. This was on Friday.

The case summary will be submitted to Phuket Kwaeng Court for legal proceedings. Despite Fehr’s claim of unintentional contact, authorities are taking the matter seriously.

As tensions simmer in Phuket, residents remain steadfast in their demand for justice and the preservation of public beach access.

The Sunday rally served as a powerful reminder of the community’s determination to uphold its rights. Locals have also let it be known that they will hold accountable those who threaten them.

Former Prayut aide calls for a probe of Mr Fehr’s business activities in Phuket. In addition, he called for a wider review of all tourism-related concerns

On Sunday, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the deputy leader of the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party intervened.

He called for a probe into Mr Fehr’s business activities in Thailand.

The Swiss man is linked to a well-known and successful elephant sanctuary.

The former close aide to ex-Prime Minister Prayut Chan Ocha said he had received calls about the affair. Certainly, it had struck a nerve with local people.

In addition, he called for a wider probe of all foreign-owned business enterprises in Phuket.

Especially concerning the influx of Russian nationals.

It is understood that there is rising concern at an official level about the evasion and circumvention of laws by foreigners in Phuket quite unrelated to Mr Fehr.

In particular, within the foreign tourism industry.

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