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Expat says he was almost deported over Facebook posts

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Facebook: Yan Marchal

With the ongoing pro-democracy protests, some have raised question: What could happen to foreigners who get involved or speak out against Thai politics? Or post their thoughts on social media? Well, they could possibly get deported.

Expat Yan Marchal says he almost got kicked out of the country for posts he made on Facebook. Many of Yan’s recent Facebook posts are commentary relating to Thailand’s recent protests, although he has priors.

Yan says he was on a visa under his Board of Investment, or BOI, company, valid until next March. He went by immigration to transfer his stamp into a new passport, but was told that his visa had been revoked and was now on overstay, Yan wrote on Facebook.

“He told me that I would be deported. The reason given was my Facebook activity. I could see that he has a file with a detailed report on my posts, although he did not let me read the details.”

Yan says he contacted Khaosod English. The news outlet got him in contact with the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. With the help of journalists and a lawyer, Yan met with another immigration inspector who told him that his visa was not cancelled, he will not be deported and the process for getting a new stamp in his passport would take a few days.

“The message that I felt the inspector was willing to deliver, although he would not own it, was that I had to be less opinionated on Facebook if I wanted to stay in Thailand. I was specifically asked to delete two posts, which I did.”

It’s not the first time his content caused trouble. Last year, he was visited by police after a video he made poking fun at the military junta – the National Council for Peace and Order. Yan made a public apology and the video was removed.

Thailand has been known to enforce online content that is considered critical of the monarchy or could incite unrest. In recent months, some activists have faced sedition charges for social media content that allegedly violates the Computer Crime Act.

Should Yan be deported? Was he wrong to post critical comments about Thailand? And the government?

SOURCES: Facebook | Coconuts Bangkok

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Johnny Rambo

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    To all Farangs: Get out of this primitive dictatorship. The Thai government has already sold the country to China. Now Thailand can expect a “bright” future with famines and neanderthal life conditions. Dont stay there !

  2. Avatar

    Gaz

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    We are guests of this country. Wether we agree with policies or not is not for us to get involved.
    We choose to live here and adhere to.the laws. I’ve lived here 17 years and love the country. It’s my home now. We don’t like others meddling in our native countries politics. So best to stay neutral.

    • Avatar

      Raul Torres

      Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 1:17 pm

      You have income from your country of origin. If you are Thai you will no sympathized. Keep your comment to your self.

    • Avatar

      Nick

      Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Mental paleozic culture. can’t get out now. I have 2 children here 1 adopted by me, 1 mine. and thats what I get back. Cant even twitt or post on FB. You are right. Just watch the economy dropping down like that stone in the water. The problem is, they refuse to learn. Even animals can learn faster than that yeah, primitive herd.

    • Avatar

      Leo Z

      Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 12:20 am

      “We don’t like others meddling in our native countries politics.” Oh boy, but do they? (Here’s looking at you China and others).

      I partly agree with you. However, two points: a) “FB activity” is not “meddling in a country’s politics”. He didn’t run for MP. b) If Western countries applied the equivalent criteria, how many Asian immigrants (including Thai) would have to be deported?

  3. Avatar

    Smoker

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Typical WM syndrome

  4. Avatar

    Kris

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    It is not appropriate to criticize the country where you are guest.

  5. Avatar

    Rusty

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    I fully agreed with Gaz…..learn to mind your own bussiness..(Busybody)….Who are you comment in Thailand ?…Only ignaramous does that…Westerner never learn…really…shameless attitude..I wish the immigration stamp him out,never
    Able to come back to Thailand or Asian countries again if possible…

  6. Avatar

    gosport

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Can understand why these insanes dont have any sense of laws?

    Too too nosy!

  7. Avatar

    Dreamon

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    If he pay taxes in Thailandia he is not a guest anymore. So he can say whatever he wants, that’s how democracy and freedom works, he have rights to ask for changes.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 6:15 pm

      No, “democracy and freedom” works according to the rules of whatever country you happen to be in.

      What may be “democracy” even in one Western country may not be in another – there is no “one size fits all”, nor should there be.

      • Avatar

        Dreamon

        Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 10:30 pm

        you know nothing about Democracy or Freedom.
        Not a single Democratic country in the world would expel someone just for supporting a political party or a student movement that it’s actually asking for Democratic reforms in a peaceful way.
        so YES Thailand is not a democratic country, it is just a dictatorship.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 2:57 pm

          … just one minor problem with that ….. that’s NOT “just ” what he’s done, but he’s gone way beyond that.

          Sorry, but he openly admits that himself.

          He doesn’t just admit it, to be more accurate, but he makes a point of boasting about it.

          • Avatar

            Phillyboy

            Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 5:52 pm

            Lets face it, the dude who posted these comments on FB is a moron. You do not stir up trouble in a country that is not your country, whether you work there or not. Let the Thai’s solve their own problems, their problems are not for us to comment on in the mass media (FB/Twitter/Etc).

  8. Avatar

    murika

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    could it have to do with his BOI (board of investment) statue ? i mean BOI are kind of business partners with the thai government, to get this statue that allow you to own land in thailand, you need approval from a government comity, and it could be that you sign a contract that make it illegal for you to have a kind of political activity. i don’t claim, i just ask

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 6:07 pm

      His Bangkok based videogame company closed in February last year after failing to attract investors, so he has no “BOI status”.

      Typical of a very small but unpleasant minority of Frenchmen who think they have an unlimited right to freedom of speech and to offend anyone they like while banning anything that offends them, leading to a “culture” where you can say anything you like about religions however offensive but you can’t wolf-whistle at someone, and it’s fine for men to be naked on a beach waving their meat and two veg around but not for women to be fully clothed.

      • Avatar

        preesy chepuce

        Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 8:26 pm

        Don’t you think it’s a bit ironic effectively insuating he is racist… because of his nationality/ethnicity?!

        I find the usual herd of sheep who say how it’s inappropriate to criticise a country you are a guest in, British people are very used to foreigners coming over to the UK and criticising it heavily.

        The reality is that it’s not sensible to do it in some countries, in places like Britain, the British tend not to care, or may even join in, but in the vast majority of countries in the world, people are extraordinarily touchy (for British people) about criticism of their country – even if they agree with you!

        Criticising human invented ideas shouldn’t be regarded as offensive, it should be regarded as doing people a favour; especially when some beliefs in some made up ideas result in innocent people being butchered at work or just going to the shops. What kind of world do you want to live in?!

        • Avatar

          James

          Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 10:37 pm

          preesy

          There is a big difference.

          The foreigners who come to stay in Britain become British nationals and are then allowed to vote and say whatever they want. Their rights are equal to a person who is born here,

          In Thailand farangs are always temporary visitors, they might have yearly visas but they are not permanent and have no rights, they know this before going to Thailand and so should shut up.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 11:35 pm

          I don’t know why you think I’m “insinuating he’s racist”?

          I just think he’s a bit of a tit.

  9. Avatar

    Tony Grace

    Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    3 important things to do when in another country.
    NO 1 keep eyes wide open.
    2 keep ears wide open.
    3 keep mouth shut.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      Keep hand on wallet – especially in Thailand.

      • Avatar

        SG666

        Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 3:30 pm

        100 percent correct

    • Avatar

      Steven Broaddus

      Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 8:08 pm

      thats why your country you fled from has become a fascist hell jole

  10. Avatar

    Joseph McKee

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 12:53 am

    I MUST LAUGH. TIT. This is Thailand!

    I was BOI. I never paid tax to Thailand. My check went to my home country bank (tax free). My per-diem was not taxed but went into my Thai bank.

    #1 Rule. You can’t criticize what you don’t understand. Be honest. Do you understand Thailand? Where else can benevolent shut down a factory of 3000 for a week?

  11. Avatar

    MARTIN BERRY

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 3:45 am

    I Lived in Thailand for 12 years, every now and then you would hear the farang moaner complaining about a variety of things whether it be on a local or national level.They always commented “we dont that where i come from” etc you have all heard it. What they say may be true but you are a guest in another Country you have been allowed to enter by their grace.
    I suggest you keep your head down, keep out of trouble, respect their customs and protocols,obey the rules and laws, be polite enjoy its benefits,of which must outweigh where you came from otherwise you would not be there in the first place. Never do business, especially with a Thai no matter what status they hold as sadly some are unscrupulous,there are so many cases of foreigners being duped why risk your lives savings ?. If you dont do these things then you can learn the hard way.
    Finally if you don’t like it vote with your feet and get out and go elsewhere !

  12. Avatar

    joseph c Schmehl

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 4:55 am

    As an expat you should not get involved with any politics. Keep your opinions to yourself and worry about your own county’s politics. You are not a national citizen of Thailand. Learn when to speak and when NOT to speak…

  13. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 5:37 am

    Would’ve been worse if he did it in a GCC country.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 3:01 pm

      If only he’d tried doing the same thing in Iran …

  14. Avatar

    Phillyboy

    Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    What kind of person who is a guest in another country would make negative comments about the government, especially in these tense times. Wow man just live your life, enjoy your life, but keep your comments to yourself or those who are close to you. It’s just too easy man!!!!!

  15. Avatar

    Michael

    Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 9:20 am

    So if you do not like your farang neighbor…
    Open a Facebook account with his name.
    Write many bad things about Thailand and Thai politics.
    Insult some people whose names you should not mention.
    Wait for the next annual renewal of his visa.
    Wish him a pleasant flight back to his home country.

  16. Avatar

    ron

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    No, “democracy and freedom

    guys stop go to thai shit land no sense go to country no right to talk and they blackmail farang with visa or money any time they is some discussing
    also never win with thais
    my opinion is make war with this stupid animals ,they are half of monkey
    old people like ovr 40’s are only retarder and under thai rule completely ,impossible make them understand ,but some young studends maybe they start to underatdn ,
    need kick out the monarchy ,and actully government, they are only thief and dictature

    no one go to thai ,guys stop give money to monkey ,they without us are only poor stupid

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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