WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024

Swiss expat’s long-stay visa at risk as Phuket locals angered by rude behaviour

Swiss expat’s long-stay visa at risk as Phuket locals angered by rude behaviour

A well-known lawyer said on Monday that the Swiss owner of a so-called elephant park in Phuket may not see his long-stay visa extended due to disputes with local people.

Phuket residents have been pushing for the expulsion of Swiss national Urs “David” Fehr, 45, after he allegedly kicked a female doctor and accused her of trespassing on his property.

The incident took place on the evening of February 24 on the steps of his property at Yamu Beach in Thalang district’s Tambon Pa Klok. Dr Thandao Chandam told reporters later that Fehr looked down upon her as a “local” who could not read an English sign saying the steps she and her friend were sitting on were part of his private property.

After the incident, many residents joined a rally at the beach opposite Fehr’s villa on Sunday, calling on the expat to “get out”. Some carried signs saying in English: “Local people don’t want animal”.

The protesters said they will move their rally to Phuket city hall in a few days.

Many residents also posted Facebook comments saying that Fehr often quarrelled with locals when they tried to access the beach near his property.

All beaches in Thailand are public property. Many also alleged that his so-called elephant park, which he used as an excuse to seek donations, did not really rescue elephants.

Instead, they allege, Fehr’s Thai wife did deals with mahouts and rented their jumbos for the park.

On Monday, well-known lawyer Decha Kittivittayanan said in a Facebook post that he had learned from well-informed police sources that Fehr was unlikely to see his long-stay visa extended.

“He will have to return to his homeland,” Decha said.