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Royal pardon for 2 Burmese men in Koh Tao backpacker murder case

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“They will also have a chance to get their sentences reduced further on good behaviour.”

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, the 2 young Burmese men sentenced to death over the Koh Tao British backpacker double murder in 2014, have had their sentences commuted to life in prison by the Thai monarch. The pair were sentenced to death for the murder of 24 year old David Miller and the murder and rape of 23 year old Hannah Witheridge.

Their bodies were discovered on Sairee beach, Koh Tao in September 2014. Koh Tao is a popular diving island in the Gulf of Thailand, just a short ferry hop from Koh Samui or Surat Thani. The 2 men were convicted and sentenced in 2015 in controversial circumstances. The verdict was then upheld by an appeals court in 2017 and the Thai Supreme Court in August 2019.

The investigation and convictions were shrouded in controversy with claims the pair had been scapegoats to protect prominent figures on Koh Tao. Their supporters claim they had been framed and the two men had confessed to the crimes “under duress”. Laywers argued the investigation had been botched with dodgy DNA evidence being presented in court.

The fallout from the case, and the reporting of the case, ended the careers of a few Thai and foreign journalists. The owners of Samui Times were sued over the term “Death Island” in describing Koh Toa and a string of mysterious deaths, by the Surat Thani governor. The Samui Times had taken an ardent editorial stance in support of the 2 Burmese men.

The reputation of Koh Tao, as a paradise diving destination, also suffered with the 5 years of consrant bad publicity.

The Royal pardon decree for the young Burmese men was published yesterday. Their sentences are now reduced to life imprisonment, commuted from a death sentence.

“The two are eligible under a section in the royal pardon decree to get their death sentences reduced to life imprisonment.”

It isn’t clear how many prisoners were eligible for pardons or reduction of sentences under different criteria listed in the decree. The pardons were part of the commemoration of the HM The King’s birthday celebrations last month.

SOURCE: Reuters

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1 Comment

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    Ricky

    August 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    No pardon was offered to the ones murdered by these scum. They should’ve been put to death immediately

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Crime

10 million baht in damages from alleged wholesale pajama scam

Caitlin Ashworth

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10 million baht in damages from alleged wholesale pajama scam | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Agenda Thai

A wholesale online shopping scam allegedly tricked dozens of people who wanted to start a pajama business. People spent around a total of 10 million baht for pajamas that were never shipped out.

A large group of victims filed complaints together against a Facebook page advertising wholesale packs of pajamas at the Ministry of Justice. They wore matching white shirts with a symbol of a judge’s gavel and block.

The victims say they transferred money to a Facebook page named “Pajamas by Shopping” in October 2019. After waiting months to receive their orders, the victims filed a complaint. It’s unclear how many complaints were filed, but Thai media says there hundreds of people were scammed, adding up to 10 million baht in damages. The scam allegedly had multiple accounts at various banks.

The victims first filed complaints with their local police departments, but they say nothing was done. Since the victims are from many different provinces, they decided to file complaints together with the Ministry of Justice.

The victims claim the same scammer started another Facebook page called “Wholesale Pajamas” in Thai. They say the group is still scamming people who want to start a pajama business.

The Department of Special Investigations is looking into the complaints and says victims can register their names on the department’s website.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Protests

Protest leaders face charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law and for installing the plaque

Caitlin Ashworth

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Protest leaders face charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law and for installing the plaque | The Thaiger
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Leaders of the weekend’s pro-democracy protest in Bangkok are facing charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté laws and installing a symbolic plaque at a “registered historical site”. Police filed complaints against 10 to possibly more than 16 protesters.

It’s unclear how many protesters will be charged, but the Royal Thai Police spokesperson Piya Uthayo says charges will be pressed against those who “pulled the strings.” He says the Chanasongkhram Police have received several lèse majesté complaints. Under the lèse majesté law, it is illegal to insult or defame the Thai Monarch or royal family. Piya says police will take the strongest legal actions possible against those who undermined the Monarchy.

A lèse majesté complaint was filed by a leader of the pro-government “multi-coloured shirts movement” Tul Sittisomwong who said the protesters had “once again crossed the line,” according to the Bangkok Post.

“I don’t mind if they talked about politics, the prime minister or the constitution because they have the right to do so, but not about the monarchy.”

The Bangkok Post reports that around 10 protesters will be charged with violating the Public Assembly Act and Criminal Code while 4 people will be charged with violating the lèse majesté law. Thai PBS estimates at least 16 people face charges for violating the lèse majesté law and installing the plaque.

Protesters installed a plaque on the forecourt of the royal parade grounds, aka. Sanam Luang, next to the Grand Palac. The pro-democracy plaque symbolically renamed the area Sanam Ratsadon, or “People’s Ground”. The plaque disappeared and the spot was covered with concrete less than 24 hours after being embedded by the protesters early on Sunday morning. Police say they removed the plaque because it would be used as evidence against protest leaders.

The Fine Arts Department and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration filed complaints with police over the installation of the plaque, saying the protesters broke the law by causing damage to an archaeological site. The department says the plaque installation violates the Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums Act, as Sanam Luang is a historical site protected by law. The removal of another historic plaque in 2017, commemorating the Siam Revolution in 1932, when Thailand’s absolute monarchy was overthrown by a constitutional monarchy, was not reported by the same organisations.

Authorities also claim rally leaders broke into Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus and entered the grounds of Sanam Luang without permission. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration also asked police to take action against protesters who destroyed barriers and fences at the university as well as the damage done when installing the plaque at Sanam Luang, according to Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy spokesperson (the concrete has already been replaced after being torn out of the cement sometime on the early hours of Monday morning).

“The protesters damaged BMA properties and violated the Act on the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country.”

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Bangkok Post

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Crime

Police officer allegedly shot and killed a woman at a Bangkok temple

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police officer allegedly shot and killed a woman at a Bangkok temple | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A police officer allegedly shot and killed a woman making merit at a Bangkok temple yesterday. The 35 year old police officer, Siriwan Sumredsilpa, turned herself in to police. Siriwan allegedly approached the 39 year old woman from behind and shot her 4 times in the head. She was making merit that morning at the Nimmanoradee Temple in Bangkok around 7am yesterday morning.

The victim, Linlada Phattanphan, went to the temple that morning with her maid and roommate, 52 year old Maneerat Srithornrat. As the 2 of them were about to head home, a woman – around 35 to 40 years old – came up behind Linlada and shot her multiple times at a close range, the maid told police.

Surveillance camera footage shows the shooter wearing a cap and face mask. The video shows the shooter getting out of a vehicle parked in a black SUV next to the victim’s car right when Linlada was about to drive home. The alleged shooter then then fled the scene.

Police say the shooter grabbed Linlada’s hands and neck before firing the gun. When officers from the Phasi Charoen Police Station arrived at the scene, they found Linlada on the ground laying next to her car in a pool of blood. A forensic team from the Siriraj Hospital responded to the scene and said the woman was shot with 9mm bullets.

Siriwan went to the Sriprachan Police Station in Suphanburi province later that afternoon and allegedly confessed to the shooting. Police say she shot Linlada due to a personal dispute. The Phasi Charoen Police Station is still investigating.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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