WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024

Immigration police revoke visa of Swiss businessman in Phuket

Immigration police revoke visa of Swiss businessman in Phuket

The southern immigration office has revoked the long-stay visa for a Swiss businessman who owns an elephant park in Phuket after his alleged assault of a doctor led to a protest by local residents.

Pol Col Parinya Klinkesorn, speaking for the Immigration Bureau, said on Thursday that Pol Maj Gen Songprod Sirisukha, commander of Immigration Division 6, had signed an order on Wednesday evening to revoke the visa of Urs “David” Fehr as proposed by the Phuket Immigration Office. Division 6 is in charge of immigration in southern provinces.

Earlier, the Phuket provincial administration asked Phuket Immigration authorities to consider revoking the visa for Fehr, the 45-year-old managing director of the Elephant Sanctuary Park Co that runs an elephant park in Phuket.

The provincial administration took the action after Dr Thandao Chandam, 26, a doctor at Dibuk Hospital, told media that she had been kicked in the back on the night of February 24 by Fehr while sitting on steps at Yamu Beach in front of a villa in Thalang district.

Thandao said she felt the need to go public and expose the alleged assault because during the incident Fehr’s Thai wife had claimed a strong connection with senior Phuket police officers.

Fehr and his wife later apologised, saying they had mistaken the doctor and her friend for Chinese tourists, who he said often encroached on his property.

Following the exposure and a very public backlash, the Phuket governor proposed that immigration police revoke Fehr’s long-stay visa on the grounds that he is a threat to society and could upset peace and order.

Parinya said the commander of Division 6 agreed with the Phuket Immigration Office and provincial administration that Fehr had demonstrated behaviours deemed detrimental to society’s peace and order.

Following the revocation, immigration officers will take Fehr to be detained at the Phuket Immigration Office pending his deportation.

Parinya said Fehr could seek a temporary release in order to fight the assault case filed by Thandao.

The exposure by the doctor enraged local residents who staged a large “picnic” on the beach in front of Fehr’s villa.

The incident also rekindled calls by many Thais for the authorities to enforce the law prohibiting beaches from being owned as private property, and for the authorities to ensure that there is access to beaches nationwide.