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Koh Tao Murders: Police seek help from FBI on DNA

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Koh Tao Murders: Police seek help from FBI on DNA | Thaiger

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

Police seek help from FBI on DNA
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police will request help from the United States’ Federation Bureau of Investigation to test semen found in the body of a female British backpacker brutally murdered on the resort island of Koh Tao this week.

DNA testing technology in Thailand could only identify whether human secretions came from a male or female, said deputy police chief General Somyot Pumpunmuang, while the FBI had “sophisticated technology”.

“We will ask the FBI to help identify the DNA in the semen we found – whether it belonged to an Asian or European,” he said yesterday.

The bodies of Hannah Witheridge and fellow British national David Miller, both 24, were found on Monday morning on Koh Tao, in Surat Thani province. Autopsies revealed they were brutally beaten, while Miller was drowned during the deadly attack.

Somyot, who will become police chief next month, said he would travel to Koh Tao today to inspect the crime scene and follow up on the latest developments of the investigation.

“This is a big case and the premier has been very concerned about the matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents on Koh Tao are offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of the killers, Koh Tao mayor Chaiyan Turasakul told Agence France-Presse.

“At this point we are offering Bt50,000 for anyone who can provide clues which lead to the arrest of a suspect. The money comes from donations from the people of Koh Tao,” Chaiyan said.

Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha said in his weekly televised address to the nation yesterday that he had ordered police to bring the culprits to immediate justice.

“Progress has been made continuously, although it is not known yet who are the killers,” he said.

“The authorities concerned have been assigned to ensure safety at tourist attractions. People and volunteers must also engage in assisting and monitoring for the sake of safety.”

Somyot revealed that the latest inspection of the crime scene unearthed a cigarette butt at a spot on the island where traces of Witheridge’s DNA was found. He said it was likely that she met her attackers at the spot and had a conversation there.

Pol General Jaramporn Suramanee, an adviser to the Royal Thai Police Office who visited Koh Tao on Thursday, said on that day that several pieces of evidence had been found at the scene.

He visited the scene after DNA samples collected from the body of Witheridge did not match those of the 12 suspects.

Jaramporn was speaking after searching an area near the crime scene towards the sea during low tide on Thursday night.

He simulated what might have happened including focusing on the distance between the location where the bodies were found and a hoe believed to be the murder weapon.

Witnesses near the crime scene told police they saw three men in the area on the night of the murders.

A tourism police commander, Maj-General Atichai Ti-amart, said police were also looking for a foreign woman captured on CCTV running near the crime scene.

Police investigators continued to gather more evidence yesterday, focusing on trying to identify an Asian man seen in CCTV footage at the time of the murder.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Monks gather for a special ceremony in Pattaya to pray Covid-19 away

Tanutam Thawan

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Hands placed together in the “wai” position and seated in chairs placed a safe “social distance” apart, monks in Pattaya gathered together at a local temple for a special ceremony to pray Covid-19 away.

The Wat Chai by the Pattaya Walking Street was given special permission to hold the event where dozens of monks from other temples in the area came together to pray. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the ritual, monks wore face masks, practised social distancing, used hand sanitiser and had their body temperature checked.

The monks chanted several mantras and performed rituals that they believe will help slow the spread of Covid-19 in Chon Buri and help the local economy recover.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Bangkok

Protest leader tests positive for Covid-19 a week after being released from jail

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

A pro-democracy movement leader has tested positive for Covid-19 after she spent 8 weeks in jail awaiting a trial on lese majeste charges which prohibit statements that insult or defame the Thai Monarchy. 2 other protest leaders facing similar charges have tested positive for Covid-19 while in court detention.

After being released from the Central Women’s Correctional Institution on May 6, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul spent most of her time at home. She went to a drive-through Covid-19 testing venue on May 10. She went by the Bangkok Remand Prison the next day for the release of 2 other protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan. Rung has now been admitted to the Thammasat University Hospital in Pathum Thani for treatment.

Rung says had been denied an earlier Covid-19 test because she did not have some of the symptoms of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

The daily Covid-19 death toll hit a record high today with 34 deaths reported. 1,983 new Covid-19 infections were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 88,907 Covid-19 infections and 486 coronavirus-related deaths.

There are now 29,378 active Covid-19 cases in Thailand. Active cases peaked at just over 30,000 infections last week and have been on a very slight downward slope. The number of patients with severe symptoms has slightly increased to 1,200 with 401 of them on ventilators.

Around 75% of the new Covid-19 infections are in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. While the infection rate remains high in the capital, several provinces have reported no Covid-19 infections and many provinces report under 10 infections.

Most of the new Covid-related fatalities reported today are patients with underlying conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. 12 of the 34 patients who died had contracted Covid-19 from family members, a trend in the deaths of patients. The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at the highest risk of a severe Covid-19 infection.

A CCSA spokesperson notes that migrant workers are entitled to treatment under social welfare programs regardless of their legal status in Thailand.

“Legal or not, they will be treated. Legal status is not an issue at all. The priority is to get them treated and recovered as soon as possible.”

To combat the spread of Covid-19 in Bangkok, the CCSA is expediting the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in high-risk areas like Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum. Since the nationwide vaccination campaign was launched in late February, 1.89 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. Only 530,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Provinces with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases…

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 976 21,405
Nonthaburi 266 4,035
Samut Prakan 110 3,420
Chon Buri 57 3,489
Surat Thani 53 1,256
Ayutthaya 38 743
Samut Sakhon 36 1,627
Chanthaburi 32 562
Pathum Thani 29 1,477
Pattani 28 240
Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Daily Covid-related deaths in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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