Connect with us


Koh Tao Murders: Mass DNA tests fail to identify suspects

Legacy Phuket Gazette





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

Koh Tao Murders: Mass DNA tests fail to identify suspects
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police hunting the killers of two British tourists on Koh Tao failed again yesterday to link suspects to the crimes, as DNA tests on 30 out of 64 samples collected mostly from migrants on the island did not match any found on the victims’ bodies.

Yesterday was the eighth day since the murders but police have yet to reveal solid clues or the likely motive. The officials were waiting for results of DNA tests of three ‘new’ suspects: two Thais and a migrant who looks like a man seen on a close-circuit television camera.

However they have confirmed that two weapons we used to kill the pair – which led them to believe they are hunting at least two people.

The body of Hannah Witheridge, the young female backpacker slain on the island, meanwhile, left Bangkok for her home country. Her family said in a statement: “We can confirm that we have now returned to the UK with our beautiful Hannah. As a family we feel enormous relief to have Hannah back at home where she belongs.”

Her body was found next to David Miller, also 24, on the beach of the resort island on Monday morning. Both were bludgeoned to death.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Somyot Pumpanmuang said yesterday that officers would have to widen the search to be beyond the island.

“We have now confirmed that the killing weapon is not only a hoe found stained with blood, but also a wooden club. This made us believe that there are at least two attackers,” he said.

Somyot said police had a theory that the killers may come and left the island on the same night. “Koh Tao is an area where people, Thais, migrant workers as well as foreign tourists come and go all the time,” he said.

Police have held one man, however, identified as Lerpong Suksomboon, an attendant on a speedboat for tourists between Koh Samui and Koh Tao. He was detained after residents alerted police that he was hiding in a cave on Koh Samui – and came out from time to time and asked for food.

Under influence of drugs

Police on Sunday night questioned Lerpong but he appeared to be under the influence of drugs. He reportedly kept saying he did not beat to death the tourists. Police collected samples of his hair and fingernails for DNA tests at the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Police General Hospital.

Police yesterday took two of his friends into custody; one was also high on drugs and the other, identified as Jom, is the driver of a long-tail boat. Police learnt that they had been on Koh Tao on the day of the murder.

Some fishermen fishing off Kanom district in Nakhon Si Thammarat province alerted police that they found a Thai man on a speedboat named “Little Duck” speeding south from Koh Pha Ngan. The man stopped by and asked for directions to Naiprao Island in the district. But he changed direction to Pakpanang district in the same province after his boat encountered a marine police boat on Naiprao beach.

Meanwhile, Pol Maj Gen Kittipong Kaosam-ang, a Surat Thani police commander, asked the media not to report in-depth investigation results, saying it may give some clues to the culprits. But he revealed that Thais may have been involved in the murders and had tried to destroy evidence linking them to the attacks. Some people on Koh Tao had given false information to police in a bid to divert attention.

Somyot told reporters that Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and his deputy Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, telephoned him every day to know the latest developments in the case.

Police have worked closely with officials from the British Embassy and they are still confident that they will eventually arrest the culprits. It was not necessary to send investigators to Thailand to help, they said.

Government spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalarp said the PM ordered police to quickly bring the culprits to justice. Officials at the island, plus business owners and have been told to help provide advice on safety issues to tourists.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Legalized gambling in Thailand? PM reveals his Omicron policy stance | Dec 3

South6 hours ago

All 23 districts declared as disaster zones in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Bangkok6 hours ago

Police face criticism over plans to buy millions of baht worth of tear gas and riot gear

Sponsored3 days ago

Hungry Hub Bangkok Rooftop Festival 2021

Thailand6 hours ago

Tourism minister tells the public “not to worry” about Omicron

Malaysia6 hours ago

Malaysia reports first case of Omicron variant

Thailand6 hours ago

Thai Immigration launches online 90 day report system

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Visa7 hours ago

10-year long term visa scheme takes a step forward, measures approved by PM

Thailand7 hours ago

Pilot seriously injured in F-5 fighter jet crash in Lop Buri

Southeast Asia8 hours ago

Taiwan sets up nighttime vaccination spots with gifting plans

Tourism8 hours ago

Maya Bay reopening likely to be postponed | VIDEO

Contract Package8 hours ago

Thai AirAsia X seeks for new investors as flights to resume next year

Thailand9 hours ago

Government to set up committee to consider opening casinos in Thailand

Southeast Asia9 hours ago

Detained Cambodian monk with refugee status says he could jailed if deported from Thailand

Thailand9 hours ago

Wildlife officials search for Bengal tiger roaming across three provinces

Thailand9 hours ago

CCSA criticises newspaper’s ‘hunt for Africans’ story, clarifies efforts to track travellers

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

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

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11