Thailand Deports French Expat for Mocking Government

On Saturday, authorities denied re-entry to a French national who has mocked the Thai government, arguing that he was “a danger to society.”

Yan Marchal arrived in Thailand, where he has lived for nearly two decades, on Saturday morning. However, the Thai Immigration Department issued an expulsion order against the ex-pat, his lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman told Reuters news agency.

Authorities did not elaborate on the notice, but Marchal’s legal team clarified that he had not faced any criminal charges.

Marchal speaks Thai and has a TikTok account with more than 560,000 followers, where he often shares videos satirizing the government. A clip shows the French citizen wearing a T-shirt with a message calling for the controversial royal insult law’s abolition and the monarchy’s reform.

Local media reported that Phuket’s immigration officer told Marchan that he had been blacklisted by the country and would not be allowed to enter but gave no further explanation. Later, the ex-pat said the officers who expelled him had mentioned the lese majeste law or Criminal Code’s Section 12, which punishes people who insult or defame the king and his family.

Bergman stated that the case was unusual, as blacklisting and expulsion under the lese majeste law have primarily involved foreigners convicted of crimes or those who overstayed their visas.

“Normally, with an administrative order like this, the individual being denied entry should be told who he has been accused by, and why he has been deemed a threat to the society and should not be allowed in… there should an opportunity for explanation,” the lawyer explained.

Marchal later said he was concerned about his situation and that resolving his case in Thailand, where he has a video game development company and children, would take time. He also advised his fellow foreigners and tourists to be cautious and remember that lese majeste matters in the country are very sensitive.

Speaking on the phone from Phuket airport yesterday morning, Marchal said he would be forced to take a flight back to Paris.

“I knew it was a possibility… They say it’s because of my behavior posting on Facebook. I will try to call the embassy and see but I don’t think they can do much. Basically, the officer told me I am attacking the king, causing problems for the king,” he added.

According to Thailand’s Immigration Law, the TikTok star has 48 hours to appeal his expulsion.