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Phuket’s Yamu Beach Uprising: Community Demands Justice Against Swiss National Urs Fehr

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On a sun-soaked Sunday in Phuket’s Thalang district, an impassioned plea for freedom and justice echoed through the air as over 500 spirited locals and fervent activists rallied at Yamu Beach. Their cause? A resolute demand for the reinstatement of public access to the beloved beach and a vehement outcry against a Swiss national’s alleged aggression towards a local doctor. This wasn’t just a protest; it was a community’s battle cry for respect and dignity.

The serene morning of 9am at Yamu Beach transformed into a groundswell of discontent against Urs Fehr—alias David—a 45-year-old Swiss man accused of physically assaulting Doctor Thandao Chandam. The backdrop to this alleged confrontation? Steps leading to the beach, controversially constructed and later discovered to have been an encroachment upon public land, sparking outrage and the Thalang district office’s swift order for their removal.

The incident, which allegedly saw Dr. Thandao, a revered 26-year-old doctor from Dibuk Hospital in Phuket, attacked while simply enjoying the moon with a friend, has galvanized the community. The outcry wasn’t limited to vocal demands for David’s expulsion; the beach steps, now a symbol of the public’s defiance, drew crowds snapping selfies in solidarity. The air hummed with the melody of the Thai national anthem, a poignant reminder of unity and national pride amidst strife.

Mr. Somboon Sampaorat, a 58-year-old local, stood among the throng, reminiscing about days gone by when the beach was a communal haven before foreign developers altered the landscape. “Once home to wild deer and a bounty of forest products, now usurped by encroaching estates,” he lamented, his words painting a vivid picture of a forgotten idyll.

In a similar vein, Suchart Jorasakul, 56, alongside friends from tambon Koh Kaew, seized the moment to demand clarity in land demarcation, emphasizing, “Yamu Beach belongs to the people. It’s time the usurpers took heed.”

Members of the People Movement for a Just Society (P-Move) brandished banners, each one a testament to the community’s unwavering demand for justice and the restoration of public access to their beach.

The echo of the community’s voice reached the ears of officials. Phuket’s police chief and even the National Police chief assured swift action and deeper investigations, not solely into the incident but into the broader issue of foreign nationals flouting local laws. The stance from the highest echelons of Thailand’s government, including warnings from the Deputy Prime Minister and instructions from the Prime Minister, underscored a unified message: respect for Thai law is paramount.

While the narrative unfolded, with initial charges of assault levied against the Swiss national who denies the allegations, local governance took action against the perpetrators of the illegal construction. An official complaint sparked a mandate for the dismantling of the controversial steps, a poignant victory for the community’s relentless pursuit of justice.

Amid these rallying cries for justice and the return of land to its people, an inspection at a sanctuary run by the couple under scrutiny revealed a lawful adherence to animal possession permits—a reminder of the complexity and intertwining narratives that make up the fabric of this community dispute.

This story, emerging from the shores of Yamu Beach in Phuket, is more than a tale of contention; it’s a vivid tableau of a community’s resilience, a united stand against encroachment, and a testament to the Thai spirit’s indomitable desire for justice and respect. Yamu Beach’s saga continues, with every grain of sand beneath its waves a witness to the relentless power of communal solidarity.


  1. BeachLover101 March 3, 2024

    Absolutely outrageous! No individual, let alone a foreigner, has the right to block access to nature’s marvels. The beach is for everyone to enjoy.

    • RealEstateMogul March 3, 2024

      It’s easy to point fingers but remember, he bought the land. Ownership comes with rights. Not everything is black and white.

      • OceanGuardian March 3, 2024

        Ownership should not trump public rights. Beaches are part of our natural heritage and should remain accessible to all!

      • BeachLover101 March 3, 2024

        Exactly @OceanGuardian! It’s about preserving our community and environment. Greed shouldn’t strip us of our natural playgrounds.

    • SunnySide March 3, 2024

      But wasn’t the construction deemed illegal? That changes the whole narrative. No one’s rights trump the law.

  2. PhuketNative March 3, 2024

    Sad to see my childhood beach become a battleground. The beach was our playground, not a disputed territory.

    • GlobalNomad March 3, 2024

      Sadly, this is the reality everywhere. Paradise found, paradise lost, all thanks to money and ownership battles.

  3. JusticeWarrior March 3, 2024

    The mobilization of the community is inspiring! It’s high time we fought back against the wealthy few who think they own the earth!

    • DevilsAdvocate March 3, 2024

      While I understand the frustration, painting all foreign investors with the same brush is unfair and counterproductive.

  4. SwissInTheMist March 3, 2024

    As a Swiss expat, this story makes me uncomfortable. It’s crucial we respect the cultures and laws of our adopted homes.

    • CulturalRespect March 3, 2024

      Absolutely agree. Integration and respect should be the cornerstone of expat life. We’re guests in their home.

  5. LawStudent98 March 3, 2024

    This case could set a pivotal legal precedent in Thailand regarding land ownership and public access. Watching closely!

  6. EcoWarrior March 3, 2024

    The environmental impact of blocking beach access extends far beyond just the legal issues. It’s about preserving ecosystems.

    • BeachLover101 March 4, 2024

      Agreed. The authorities need to take a stronger stand on environmental protection and sustainable development.

  7. OldTimer March 4, 2024

    I remember when Yamu Beach was untouched paradise. It’s a shame what greed and disregard can do to nature’s beauty.

  8. ForeignFriend March 4, 2024

    I hope this doesn’t fuel xenophobia. As an expat, I’m here because I love Thailand and respect its people and laws.

    • TrueThai March 4, 2024

      We welcome everyone who respects our home. It’s actions, not origins, that cause problems.

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