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Swiss man denies assault charge in Phuket

Swiss man denies assault charge in Phuket

Urs Fehr, right, and his wife Khanuengnit at the Phuket provincial hall on March 1. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: A Swiss man has denied kicking a woman doctor watching the moon on beach steps near his rented Phuket villa, and the case will now go to court, according to a Phuket deputy governor.

Adul Chuthong said on Monday the suspect denied the charge of assault, and prosecutors in Thalang district would take the case to Phuket Provincial Court for judgement.

The case concerns a complaint brought by Thandao Chandam, a 26-year-old doctor at Dibuk Hospital in Phuket.

She alleged to police that she was kicked by Urs “David” Fehr, 45, while she and a friend were seated watching the full moon from a set of steps leading down to Yamu beach, near the villa that Mr Fehr and his Thai wife rent. The alleged assault happened on the night of Feb 24.

Deputy governor Adul said that Mr Fehr had a business visa and a registered elephant foundation, and provincial officials were checking on their legal standing.

His visa was valid until March 13. The man could then remain on a suspect’s visa, pending prosecution. Any subsequent visa application could be considered, Mr Adul said.

Local officials had already ordered the removal of the steps in question, and patios and embankments in the villa estate facing Yamu beach, within 30 days, because they encroach on public land, he said.

Land officials would check the legality of the villa property, Mr Adul said.

National police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol said on Monday that he would send an inspector-general to supervise the case, to ensure that police in Phuket handle it straightforwardly.

On March 1, Mr Fehr and his Thai wife Khanuengnit went to the Phuket provincial hall and apologised for the incident. They said they were furious on Feb 24 because they mistook the doctor and her friend for Chinese tourists who had previously intruded on the estate.

Mr Fehr also denied he kicked the doctor, saying he slipped on the beach steps and fell as he approached her.