John Young, who has lived in Phuket for more than 12 years, is in forced exile after he was attacked by a neighbour with a knife near his home in Karon seven years ago, but it wasn’t until February last year that he was denied permission to re-enter Thailand at Sadao, on the Malaysian border.
The officer processing his re-entry to Thailand explained that the Immigration Bureau had declared Mr Young an unfit person to enter the country for being found guilty of trespass and a minor assault charge.
With the re-entry ban in place, Mr Young has been unable to see or care for his own children. Even though he is the sole parent to Jack, 13, and Katie, just 7, due to Thailand’s child-protection laws both children until recently had been unable to leave the country to see their father. After finally being issued his passport, Jack flew to Penang on July 6 to see his dad. Katie had to remain behind.
“The impact on my children has been very distressing and had a serious impact on their education and well being without any parents to guide them,” Mr Young told The Phuket News this week.
Appeals for assistance for Mr Young to re-enter the country have been sent to the Office of HRH Chakri Sirindhorn and the Office of the Prime Minister, while Mr Young’s case already has the support of the Office of the Phuket Public Prosecutor.
In response to a written request for assistance dated June 22, the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s Office said they were “already providing assistance” and had sent a letter to Immigration Bureau to request to find a solution “to consider allowing (Mr Young) to re-enter the country”. The letter was signed by Maj Boonthop Larnthong.
The Phuket Public Prosecutor has long supported Mr Young, with recommendations sent to the Phuket Provincial Court to levy only minor penalties for the charges against him as Mr Young was “known to be of good behaviour”.
After years in court, on August 16, 2014, Mr Young was subsequently sentenced to one year probation and fined B3,500. The probation was duly completed and the fine paid.
His assailant, Nanthana Kumjantie, was sentenced to three years jail for assault causing serious bodily injury after attacking Mr Young with a “meat knife” and a rake.
However, her sentence was also suspended. Also, while Mr Young was awarded B100,000 in damages, this was reduced on appeal to a court-awarded B29,000 despite Mr Young being hospitalised for slash wounds to his head, leg and a fractured right arm.
In statements to the court, the prosecutor reported that Nanthana and Mr Young had a long history of conflict. Notably, the prosecutor pointed out that Nanthana had admitted to previously poisoning and killing three of Jack and Katie’s dogs for digging up her garden.
That conflict came to a head on October 31, 2009, when Mr Young returned home at about 2am from a family Halloween party – he is a major investor in well-known restaurant and guesthouse in Karon – to find Nanthana outside her house with friends, drinking, enjoying a party and shouting very offensive language at him and his family.
Mr Young approached Nanthana about the abusive Language and an argument ensued, police noted in their reports of the incident. Mr Young reportedly was attacked by Nanthana with a large knife, in self-defence she was pushed and she fell to the ground, to which she responded by attacking Mr Young with a garden rake. In a photo provided to police, Nanthana shows a one-inch cut to her left elbow as the extent of her injuries.
“I just want this over with – just want to get back and be with my children, and continue to be a law-abiding member of Thailand,” Mr Young said.
“In all my years living around the world, I have never been involved in any incident like this. Hopefully the Immigration Bureau will see the sense in lifting the re-entry ban.
“Also, my case might inspire them to review the circumstances of which foreigners are rightly refused entry to Thailand, and which ones deserve a review of the circumstances and a second chance.”