French expat known for political parody deported

On 27 November, the Thai immigration Department issued an expulsion order to Yan Marchal, an expat who have lived in Thailand for 18 years, on the grounds that his behaviour posed ‘a possible danger to public.’ Marchal does not face any legal charge.

Yan Marchal in his music video parody of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha's song "Returning Happiness to the People"

After being denied entry to Thailand at the Phuket Airport, Marchal travelled to Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday afternoon to wait for a flight to Paris in evening.  He was considering filing an appeal to the expulsion order.

On 27 November evening, Marchal decided to take a plane to Paris.

The Immigration officer at Phuket reportedly told him that he had been blacklisted and was not allowed to enter the country. Although the officer did not explain further, Marchal says that officers who expelled him were talking to each other about the lese majeste law, Article 112 of the criminal code which penalises individuals who defame, insult or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent.

According to the Immigration Act of 1979 (B.E. 2522), Marchal has 48 hours to appeal the expulsion and a decision in his case must be reached within 7 days.

Natthasiri Bergman, Marchal’s lawyer, said that the case was unusual. Heretofore, blacklisting and expulsion under the act has mostly involved foreigners who overstayed their visa for lengthy periods or been convicted of crimes.

“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,” said Natthasiri.

Marshal expressed concern about his situation. He stated that it will take time to sort out his affairs in Thailand, where he has a game development company, employees and children.

He called on fellow foreigners and tourists to remember that lese majeste matters in Thailand are very sensitive and suggested  that anyone planning a visit avoid involvement in activities that might be illegal to ensure that no problems arise during their stay.

Marshal was well known for his activities on Facebook and Tiktok where he made parodies about the Thai government and the monarchy. His social debut was in 2019 when he published a music video mocking NCPO leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s song “Returning Happiness to the People”.

The police went to his house afterward, ordering him to remove the video clip and sign a “memorandum,” the English version of which Yan posted on his Facebook page. Part of the document stated that the music video was an “improper act” and that he is “now repenting for the bad action and will not do it again.”

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