Update: Villa owner’s violent act leads to demolition in beach assault scandal

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Following the assault scandal of Swiss national Urs Fehr, aka David, Phuket Peninsula Estate Co., owner of beachfront villa No. 23, took a startling step today, sending a backhoe to erase the encroaching structures, including the contentious stairway.

Before their obliteration, these steps had witnessed a fateful encounter on February 24. Swiss national David allegedly kicked 26 year old Dr Thandao Chandam, accusing her of trespassing on his rented property. However, investigations later unveiled that the steps stood unlawfully on public land, triggering a viral uproar and damning criticism of the villa couple.

Amidst mounting pressure, David and his wife, proprietors of the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park, issued a public apology, asserting the Swiss’ slip on the steps was unintentional. Yet, the events further unfolded as enraged locals and activists, numbering over 500, gathered on Yamu beach, demanding justice and public beach restoration on Sunday, reported Bangkok Post.

As legal proceedings loom, Phuket’s deputy governor, Adul Chuthong, sheds light on David’s visa status and business credentials, underscoring the gravity of the case.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Swiss national’s visa status under review following Phuket assault

The visa status of a Swiss national, embroiled in an assault case in Phuket, is set to undergo review by the immigration police, according to Deputy Phuket Governor, Adul Chuthong. The Swiss national, known as Urs Fehr or David, whose visa is due to expire on March 13, is the operator of several Thai businesses and has a registered foundation under his name, said Adul.

“Immigration will review Fehr’s visa status and decide whether or not to extend the visa when it expires.”

Adul added that the legality of Fehr’s businesses and foundation in Thailand are also under investigation.

The scrutiny of Fehr intensified after an assault report was lodged by Thandao Chandam, a 26 year old doctor at Dibuk Hospital. The incident, which took place on February 24, involved Fehr kicking Chandam and her friend in their backs as they were stargazing on the beach, positioned in front of his rented villa. Fehr alleged that the pair were trespassing on his property, however, subsequent investigations found that the steps were built on public land.

Adul stated that Fehr has been given a 30-day notice to remove the steps. Failure to comply will result in local authorities dismantling them and imposing the cost of the work on him.

While Fehr has been charged with assault, the incident has sparked demands for a comprehensive investigation into his property and businesses.

Assurances have been given by the deputy governor that action will be taken against individuals infringing on public land and those acting above the law.

In the meantime, Phuket Governor, Sopon Suwanrat, has tasked district chiefs and security officials to initiate an investigation and report their findings.

Provincial Police Region 8 Commissioner, Police Lieutenant General Surapong Thanomjit, stated on Monday that the police will delve deeper into the case, as immigration police hold the power to revoke visas of criminal offenders and deport them back to their home countries, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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