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Thursday, November 30, 2023

UK man removed from Phuket condo after 16 week standoff and siege following his refusal to pay any rent


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The skeletal UK man refused medical attention after a carefully planned police operation was successful in removing him on Friday last from the apartment he had locked himself into since mid January when a row erupted between him and the landlord of the unit. There are now concerns for his well being as he faces the prospect of being held by immigration authorities and prosecution for overstaying his visa. This could lead him to be sent to prison and having to pay penalties before being eventually deported. A representative from the British Embassy in Thailand is reported to have visited him over the weekend.

A UK expat born in Australia was removed from a 9th floor condo unit in Phuket on Friday last after a 16 week standoff in which he had barricaded himself into the apartment despite water and electricity being cut off. Thai police had to mount an elaborate exercise involving a crane hoist to break into the city home while other officers were deployed at the front door to engage with the man and divert his attention. 51 year old David Maclean, looking gaunt and anorexic, was arrested and is now being held facing immigration charges, deportation and a ban from entering Thailand again for up to 5 years.

David Maclean claimed to the media in mid January that he refused to pay rent as the landlord would not issue him with a receipt for a long stay visa application. Thai police last Friday broke into the 9th floor condo in Phuket located at the Supalai Park complex in the city using a crane hoist while officers diverted the Australian born UK man at the front door. He had been barricaded into the apartment for 16 weeks and was living without food, water or electricity. Maclean refused medical attention when brought by Thai police to the Vachira Phuket Hospital who were concerned at his gaunt and frail state. Later, the Head of the Tourist Police in Phuket, Major Ekkachai Siri, confirmed that the man was able to communicate coherently and did not appear to be in danger despite his weakened physical state. He is now being held in custody by immigration police facing prosecution on a visa overstay charge and later, deportation from Thailand.

A UK man born in Australia was arrested by Thai police on Friday last in Phuket and later charged with overstaying his visa. The man has been involved in a high profile dispute with the owner of his rented condominium which flared up in mid January when he refused to pay his rent and owners of the condo complained about unpaid arrears. This prompted the UK man to lock himself into his 9th floor condo where he remained for over 3 months until officers of the Royal Thai police acted against him on Friday.

Landlord cancelled UK man’s rental agreement and cut off light, water to 9th floor condo unit

The man has been named as 51 year old David Alexander Maclean. He had been a resident of the Supalai Park condominium building on Nakorn road in the city until he was forcibly removed from the 9th floor condo by police action on Friday afternoon. The landlord of the condominium had cancelled his rental agreement some time ago and it is reported that all water and electricity was also cut off.

Extensive operation mounted by Phuket Thai police to remove Aussie born UK man after he barricaded himself into condo for 16 weeks
The operation to remove Mr Maclean culminated in officers breaking in through a window to the condominium on Friday after they were raised to it by a platform hoist similar to the devices used by fire rescue services. Police officers smashed a window and entered a bedroom of the condominium unit while other officers had earlier begun to engage the UK man at the front door to divert his attention.

Gaunt state of UK man prompted police to bring him to hospital for medical attention
Thai police have reported that the UK man was in a gaunt and even anorexic state when they arrested him at the condo complex. The police took him immediately to the Vachira Phuket Hospital in the city for treatment. However, Mr Maclean refused medical treatment once brought to the medical facility. ‘We tried to convince him to recover first at the hospital, but he insisted that he would recover by himself,’ said Major Ekkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police who took custody of the UK man after he was removed from the Phuket condo.

UK tenant that refused to pay rent
The controversy and standoff surrounding David Maclean and his landlord is reported to be centered on non payment of rent by the eccentric UK tenant. Mr Maclean has claimed that the reason he halted payments was because his landlord refused to issue him with written receipt. His landlord at the condo has told Thai police that no rent was paid by the expat. Following the publicity surrounding the rent standoff and the cancellation of his rental agreement in mid January, the UK man sent emails to to the media explaining his predicament. He contended that he needed the receipts from his landlord in order to apply for a long term visa to remain in Thailand.

Maclean’s visa expired while locked into the his 9th floor condo leaving him facing arrest

Ironically however, his decision to shut himself inside the condominium since then has resulted in his current visa expiring without renewal on February 21st last. The UK man then refused requests by immigration authorities to present himself at the immigration department. This means that he now faces criminal charges for overstaying his visa in Thailand. He also faces deportation once any sentence or penalty imposed for this infraction is paid. In addition, because of his arrest and failure to cooperate, he faces a 5 year ban from re entering Thailand once deported.

There must be some concern for the plight of the UK man who is obviously in a weakened physical and mental state. The UK man now faces detention in Thailand by immigration authorities and the prospect of additional penalties being imposed by a Thai court for overstaying his visa. After this, he will face deportation.

Police hand the UK man over to Immigration for prosecution and deportation for Thailand
Police Major Ekkachai Siri has now confirmed that the UK man had been handed over to the Thai immigration police who will process his prosecution for overstaying his visa. ‘He insisted on this and refused the help we offered him, so in the end we brought him to Phuket City Police Station to begin the legal process to have him charged for overstaying, for which he will be deported.’ The Tourist police chief said that the there was no immediate risk to the man’s health although he was still in a weakened state. ‘Mr Maclean is very thin, but he is not in any danger health wise. He is able to move properly unassisted and is coherent when talking to us. We just wanted him to recover his health fully first before we started the legal process,’ the police boss said.

Expat will be banned from Thailand for 5 years
The Immigration Police Chief in Phuket, Colonel Kathathorn Kumthieng, gave an update to the Phuket News on the expat’s legal status. He confirmed that the UK man is facing charges for overstaying his visa in Thailand. ‘The process to deport him is starting now. He will be deported because he was arrested and did not present himself to authorities for overstaying for a period of less than one year. In accordance with immigration regulations, he will be banned from re-entering the country for five years.’

It has also been confirmed that a representative of the British Embassy in Thailand has visited Mr Maclean in detention over the weekend. The UK man is being held at Phuket City Police Station.

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