A Frenchman who stuck his nose too deeply in Thai politics was tossed out of the country Saturday when he arrived in Phuket.
Yan Eric Marchal, 48, told Thai media that he was denied entry at Phuket International Airport about 7 a.m. this morning and was presented with an official notice of expulsion after being deemed a “threat to national security”.
“I knew it was a possibility,” Marchal reportedly told a sympathetic anti-government journalist via telephone. They say it’s because of my behavior posting on Facebook.”
The French expat said he planned to call his embassy, but wasn’t holding out much hope.
He arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport before noon and will be held in the immigration detention center where he has 48 hours to appeal. Marchal claimed, however, he is being pressured to fly back to Paris tonight.
“Basically the officer told me I am attacking the king, causing problems for the king.”
A software developer and Tik Tok influencer with more than 560,000 followers, Marchal has been on thin ice in Thailand for years.
In November last year, he posted on social media that he’d been told by immigration officials in Bangkok that his visa had been canceled and he was going to be deported over his online comments.
His expulsion was defused by a lawyer, who reached an agreement with the Immigration Bureau to have them say it was just a “misunderstanding”. The Frenchman simply had to delete his controversial posts on his 31,000-follower Facebook page and keep his trap shut in the future.
He didn’t, of course.
Marchal continued to be an outspoken supporter of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement, which has been seeking to force Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign.
Marchal also posted comments critical of Prayut, a former junta leader who seized power in a coup in 2014.
“I knew there’s a risk,” Marchal noted at the time, referring to the fact that as a foreign national he can be stripped of his long-term visa any time by Thai authorities over his outspoken political stance.
“Since we [foreigners] are here on a visa, it’s a risk that we face if they want to revoke it. But I [prefer] to be outspoken anyway because that is my nature.”
He can now be outspoken from his armchair in France, a ticket to return to he must pay himself.