WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024
nationthailand

Hundreds rally on beach against Swiss man who allegedly kicked doctor

Hundreds rally on beach against Swiss man who allegedly kicked doctor

Around 300 people rallied at the Yamu Beach in Thalang district of Phuket province on Sunday morning against the Swiss owner of an elephant park on the island province after he allegedly kicked a female doctor last month.

The protesters rallied at the beach at 9.30am, bringing their own food and drinks to join the "picnic" after the organisers invited them via Phuket communities’ Facebook pages a few days earlier.

At first, their number was around 100 but it soon trebled in size.

The rally was held under the slogan labelled by the organisers in English as “Get out, David”.

The angry local people organised the rally against Swiss national Urs “David” Fehr, 45, who allegedly kicked Thandao Chandam, a doctor at Dibuk Hospital in Phuket, in the back while she and her friend were sitting on the beachside steps of a villa being rented by Fehr.

Hundreds rally on beach against Swiss man who allegedly kicked doctor

The incident took place on the evening of February 24 when Thandao was also allegedly berated by Fehr’s Thai wife, Khanuengnit, who boasted she was well connected to senior police in the province.

Thandao later told the media that Fehr looked down on her as “a local” who didn’t understand the English sign that stated the steps were private property and trespassing was prohibited.

Thandao said she was sad that a foreigner, who had come to Thailand to earn wealth, looked down on the local people. Her story infuriated many Phuket people and other Thais and many suggested organising the “picnic” protest on the beach in front of the villa to make it clear that all beaches were public space and no one could own them as private property.

Hundreds rally on beach against Swiss man who allegedly kicked doctor

Fehr initially explained that he had not intended to kick the doctor, but he slipped while walking down to tell her to leave and his foot accidentally “touched” her back. But a video clip released from Thandao’s side showed Fehr hurling four-letter word at her as “get the f… out”.

During the rally, several protesters held banners, telling “David” to leave the country. Several also shouted: “David, get out”.

The protesters also sang the national anthem and one of them shouted “David, get out. We hate you.”

Fehr and his wife have been quiet since Saturday night. Their car has not been seen at the villa since Saturday night, and it is assumed that they were not at home on Sunday.

Hundreds rally on beach against Swiss man who allegedly kicked doctor

More local people were expected to join the “picnic” protest at the spot throughout the day on Sunday to show solidarity with the female doctor.

After Thandao’s case became the talk of the town and the highlight of TV news, the Tambon Pa Klok municipality came to check the spot and found that all except one of the steps encroached on the public beach. The municipality ordered Phuket Peninsula Estate Co Ltd, which looks after the villa, to demolish the steps immediately.

The steps have also become a hot check-in spot on the beach with many people coming to sit or even lie down on them to take selfies in a show of solidarity with the doctor and to defy Fehr.

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