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


– 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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