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Koh Tao murder report to go to prosecutors this week: police

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Koh Tao murder report to go to prosecutors this week: police | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Koh Tao murder report to go to prosecutors this week: police
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police plan to forward their investigation report on the killing of two British tourists on Koh Tao to public prosecutors this Wednesday.

“We will include DNA test results related to the suspects in our report for the prosecution,” Koh Pha-ngan Police Superintendent Col Prachum Ruangthong said yesterday.

His police station has jurisdiction over not just Koh Pha-ngan but also Koh Tao, where the bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on the morning of September 15. Semen of two men was found inside the female victim’s body, it has been alleged.

Col Prachum said the DNA test results had nailed down two Myanmar workers on the tourist island, dismissing rumours the two-recently-arrested suspects were scapegoats. “There is solid evidence against them. They are not scapegoats,”

Surat Thani Police chief Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj said police had thoroughly investigated this high-profile case.

“As I have joined the investigation, I can assure you the suspects are real culprits,” he said. He spoke in response to widespread doubts as to whether police had arrested the two as scapegoats in the hope of ending the case, which had put authorities under huge pressure.

British Ambassador Mark Kent sought a meeting with Thai police chief last week prior to the arrest of the suspects.

An informed source yesterday disclosed that some international organisations had already contacted Thailand’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department as they wished to provide the two Myanmar suspects with lawyers.

“These organisations don’t believe these two Myanmar men committed the crimes,” the source said.

In a bid to clear up confusing reports related to a cell-phone believed linked to the case, Col Prachum said the iPhone that was retrieved from the suspects belonged to Miller.

“The cell-phone of Witheridge was returned to her family on September 18,” Col Prachum said.

Some reports incorrectly said the cell-phone found near the suspects’ living quarters belonged to Witheridge, one reason the scapegoat story had gained momentum.

Foreign news outlets have noted the suspects’ lack of legal representation and questioned the Thai police methods of interrogation. Andrew Drummond, a freelance reporter based in Bangkok, said: “A statement from the Burmese community on the island claimed that three friends of Win and Saw, the accused, were tortured by Thai police, who beat them physically and poured boiling water over them,” he reported on his website.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Crime

Gunman kills mayoral candidate, injures 4 other municipal candidates at funeral

Caitlin Ashworth

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Gunman kills mayoral candidate, injures 4 other municipal candidates at funeral | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/ ยงข่าวร้อน

A gunman shot and killed a woman running for mayor and wounded 4 others at a funeral in Ratchaburi, a province west of Bangkok near the Myanmar border. Police say they suspect the shooting was politically motivated. Out of the 4 people injured, 3 were running in the March 28 municipal election while another was the kamnan, a government official of a tambon, which is a sub district.

The gunman is still at large, but police say they suspect the shooter is Wanchart Niamraksa, a member of the Ratchaburi provincial administration organisation.

The gunman opened fire just as the kamnan of tambon Don Sai, Yingpan Kanket, was lighting candles and incense sticks under a Buddha image to start the ceremony, witnesses say. Shots were fired from behind the main Buddha image at the temple’s open prayer hall, witnesses say.

Bullets hit 5 people, including Yingpan who is in critical condition. Varaporn Niamraksa, who was running for mayor of the municipality, was shot and died at the hospital. Nakhon Wanpen, Somthawil Srirat and Monthien Jaitham, who are all running for the municipal council of tambon Don Sai, were shot.

Police found 2 spent .22 cartridges and a 11mm spent shell at the scene. The suspect faces charges of murder, attempted murder, carrying firearms and ammunition without permission and carrying them in public without a proper reason.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission | The Thaiger
Stock photo via Pexels

A medic for the Royal Thai Army was dismissed and his medical license revoked after injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccines during a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. The “vaccine” was actually just water. The medic, who is also a lieutenant, apparently injected 273 Thai troops with the water shot and charged 607 baht, or around $20 USD, per injection.

A soldier noticed the bottles the medic was using for the injections were unlabelled. A superior then launched an internal investigation and found that the bottles were just filled with water. Under the UN’s orders, the medic was dismissed and sent back to Thailand. His medical license was also revoked.

Thai media first reported the news, saying that a Thai army doctor at a South Sudan field hospital was suspended from duty due to an investigation into alleged fraud. The medic reportedly worked at the hospital from December 2019 to December 2020.

Following the news report, Thai Supreme Commander General Chalermphol Srisawat confirmed that a medic had been injecting troops with water and claiming it was a Covid-19 vaccine.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Nation Thailand

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