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Koh Tao Murders: Police turn focus to friends of slain man

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Koh Tao Murders: Police turn focus to friends of slain man | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Koh Tao Murders: Police turn focus to friends of slain man
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police investigation into the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao last Sunday has shifted from migrant workers to friends of the male victim, while autopsy results have provided revealing information about the gruesome crimes.

Pol Lt-General Panya Mamen, commander of Police Region 8, said yesterday that British citizen Christopher Alan Ware, a travel companion of victim David William Miller, had cooperated in giving information to the police in an interview at the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok. Samples of Ware’s DNA had also been collected since he was on Koh Tao.

Police are giving most weight to scientifically proven evidence from the autopsies, Panya added.

A police source, quoting an Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM) scientist, Pol Major Kaywalee Janphan, said DNA-based identification of a single blond hair found in the hand of the other victim, Hannah Victoria Witheridge, was not possible, because the hair’s cell was not intact.

Police had interviewed six migrant workers and a number of Thais, he said. Three female friends of Witheridge had also been interviewed and were allow-ed to return to Britain.

Panya said an extra 150 members of the Tourist and Marine Police had been deployed on Koh Tao and at piers on the coast of neighbouring Chumphon province to heighten security and boost tourists’ confidence.

Deputy police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung said earlier that police had asked two friends of Miller to remain in Thailand for 48 hours pending analysis of DNA samples collected from the victims’ bodies.

Miller’s friends, whom Somyot did not identify, were at Suvarnabhumi Airport, about to leave Thailand. “We have asked the British Embassy in Thailand to ask for their cooperation in staying in Thailand while the investigation continues.”

Police on Tuesday night ruled out three Myanmar workers as suspects after interviewing them and searching their rooms. Panya was quoted as saying that the three men had been very far from the scene of the double murders, adding that DNA samples had been collected from them.

The post-mortem report on Miller’s body has revealed that his death resulted from blows to the head and drowning, Pol Colonel Dr Pornchai Sutheerakune, commander of the IFM, said yesterday.

Water was found in Miller’s lungs, his body showed traces of being dragged and there were wounds on the back of his hands, Pornchai said. The findings indicate that he fought with his attackers, was beaten and then drowned, the doctor said.

The autopsy on Witheridge, whose body was found near Miller’s, showed she also had trauma to the head. There were also traces of recent intercourse and semen was found on her body.

The doctors will use the semen to try and identify the culprit, comparing the DNA samples collected from the bodies with those from suspects.

The doctor said he could not tell what had been used to beat the victims, other than it was a blunt object. The time of death is not known because the bodies had been frozen before autopsy.

The bodies can be reclaimed by the victims’ families now that the autopsies have been completed.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn sent a condolence letter to his British counterpart Philip Hammond, saying he felt “profound regret and sadness” over the deaths.

“On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of Thailand, I would like to extend to you and, through you, our sincere condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families for their irreparable loss,” the note read.

He further said that he wished to reassure future travellers that the government gave priority to protecting foreign nationals visiting and residing in Thailand.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign

Greeley Pulitzer

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TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thailand Shopping and Dining Paradise

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor says that the TAT will introduce two domestic tourism promotional measures – a 100 baht nationwide tourism campaign, and “shocking-price weekday” discounts.

The 100 baht campaign will offer some 40,000 products and services at only 100 baht each. Registration is required and will be open on November 11-12 and December 11-12, 2019, for up to 10,000 people each day on the the TAT website, starting at midnight each day.

The weekday discount campaign, valid Mondays to Thursdays will run from November 1 until December 3, offering up to 70% discounts on selected tourism products. The TAT will open an online store offering the same discounts. Eligible purchases made with the government’s wallet app will also receive a 15% VAT rebate.

The TAT says they are now ensuring the readiness of the system to accommodate registrations, after issues found during the previous ‘Chim Shop Chai’ campaign for Thais in a recent successful economic stimulus package from the government. In that campaign the government handed out 1000 baht gift to Thais with the stipulation it had to be spent in another province. 12 million Thais registered for the program.

The governor says he is confident these measures will provide an ongoing economic boost following the success of the Chim Shop Chai campaign, spiking revenue 10-20% during the campaign.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Road deaths

Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year

The Thaiger

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Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: U-Turn crash in Bangkok – Daily News

Daily news reports fatalities at the scene of accidents yesterday claimed the lives of 21 people. Yesterday was a busy day on Thailand’s roads at the end of a long weekend.

They say the numbers reported are only those that die at the scene. In reality, when hospital deaths and all regions report their stats, the figures end up much higher.

So far this October 554 have died at the scene of accidents resulting in a yearly total nationwide of 11,462. Thailand is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the fifth highest road toll in the world, per capita.

Figures are reported daily by Daily News who highlight the need to be vigilant at U-turns in their story about this air-conditioned bus (above)on Route 29 that collided with the back of a container truck.

Seven passengers on the bus were injured in the accident on Pahonyothin Road near the Kesri 5 housing estate in Klong 1, Klong Luang district north of Bangkok. The truck driver was trying to execute a U-turn at the time.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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