Hundreds Rally Against Swiss Man Who Assaulted Thai Doctor

On Sunday morning, around 300 individuals gathered at Yamu Beach in the Thalang district of Phuket to protest against the Swiss owner of a local elephant park following his alleged assault on a Thai female doctor last month.

The demonstrators assembled at the beach around 9:30am, bringing their own food and drinks for a “picnic” event, which was organized through invitations on Phuket community Facebook pages a few days prior.

Initially, the crowd numbered about 100 but quickly grew to three times its size. The protest was held under the banner labeled by the organizers in English as “Get out, David.”

The demonstration targeted Swiss citizen Urs “David” Fehr, 45, accused of kicking Thandao Chandam, a doctor at Dibuk Hospital in Phuket, on the back as she and a friend were seated on the beachside steps near a villa rented by Fehr.

The incident occurred on the evening of February 24, with Thandao also facing verbal abuse from Fehr’s Thai spouse, Khanuengnit, who claimed connections with high-ranking local police officials.

Thandao expressed to journalists her dismay at being disrespected by Fehr, criticizing him for demeaning locals despite profiting from his stay in Thailand.

Her account spurred outrage among the residents of Phuket and beyond, leading to calls for a “picnic” protest at the beachfront villa to assert that beaches are public territories not subject to private ownership.

Fehr later told the media that the kick was accidental, resulting from a slip as he approached to request Thandao’s departure, though a video from Thandao depicted Fehr aggressively telling her to leave.

Throughout the protest, many participants displayed banners urging “David” to leave the country, with chants of “David, get out” echoing among the crowd.

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

Fehr and his spouse have remained silent since Saturday evening. Their vehicle has been missing from the villa since that night, leading to the assumption they were not present on Sunday.

The community anticipated further support for the “picnic” protest on Sunday, aiming to demonstrate unity with the female doctor.

Following widespread discussion of Thandao’s incident and its prominence on television news, officials from the Tambon Pa Klok municipality inspected the area and discovered that nearly all the steps infringed upon the public beach area.

Consequently, they instructed Phuket Peninsula Estate Co Ltd, the entity managing the villa, to immediately remove the steps.

Furthermore, the steps have turned into a popular spot for visitors to gather, with numerous individuals choosing to sit or even recline on them for photos as a gesture of support for the doctor and in opposition to Fehr.