Arakan

The land that is known as Arakan by the foreigners is called Rakhaing-pray by its own people, Rakhaing-thar (Arakanese) who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality.

University of Essex student Hannah Witheridge.  
University of Essex student Hannah Witheridge.

Saturday, October 25, 2014
1:30 PM

British police officers are now in Thailand working with Thai police to find the truth into the brutal killing of University of Essex student Hannah Witheridge and fellow backpacker David Miller.

False reports that a friend was guilty, confused manhunts for multiple suspects, allegations of torture, withdrawn confessions, bizarre media conferences and an investigation that has taken twists and turns from day one. The Thai investigation into the murder of Colchester resident Miss Witheridge, 23, and Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, has been fast-moving, but rarely clear.
With so much confusion surrounding the investigation, the EADT put 10 questions to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and asked will there ever be justice for the pair?
■ What are the British officers working alongside the Royal Thai Police in Thailand focusing their investigations on?
The investigation is a matter for the Thai authorities. British police have travelled to Thailand to get a better understanding of the investigation and stand ready to offer any support if necessary. The scope of cooperation will be determined by the respective authorities.
■ Does the FCO plan on sending further British experts to Thailand if the officers are not satisfied with their initial findings?
It would be inappropriate to speculate about the outcome of the deployment while it is ongoing.
■ When did the British government first approach the Royal Thai Police about getting involved with the investigation? Or what was the catalyst for wanting to send British police?
At the Asia-Europe Meeting summit in Milan, the prime minister raised the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller with Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The two leaders agreed that it is important that whoever committed these murders was brought to justice in a fair and transparent way, and that British police experts should travel to Koh Tao to provide assistance.
■ Does the FCO have concerns about the treatment of the two Burmese suspects?
We are concerned about the reports of allegations of mistreatment and expect the Thai authorities to address these thoroughly and transparently.
We have raised our concerns with the Thai authorities, including the need for the investigation and any future judicial proceedings to be carried out according to due process in a fair and transparent way.
As a matter of principle, the UK unreservedly condemns the use of torture and does not condone its use for any purpose.
■ Does the FCO have specific concerns over the transparency of the case, in light of mixed reports over the suspects’ confessions?
The UK cannot interfere in Thailand’s judicial proceeding, but we encourage the Thai authorities to address these allegations thoroughly and transparently.
■ Does the FCO think that information could have been better relayed to the British government and to the families of the victims?
We continue to provide support and assistance to Hannah and David’s family at this tragic time.
We do not comment on the detail of individual consular cases nor on the assistance that we have provided.
■ What are the British government’s specific concerns over the Royal Thai Police dealings with media in Thailand?
The conduct of the investigation remains a matter for the Royal Thai Police and the Thai authorities.
■ Is there concern that criticising the Thai police investigation could jeopardise the agreement for British police to be in Thailand offering support?
The UK has a good relationship with the Royal Thai Police. British experts arrived in Thailand on October 21. A detective chief inspector from the Metropolitan Police Service Homicide and Major Crime Command and a forensic operations co-ordinator from Forensic Services have been deployed and are in Thailand.
An experienced officer from Norfolk Police has also been deployed to support the UK team.
■ How confident is the FCO that those responsible for the killings will be brought to justice?
We want to see the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice and we have asked the Thai authorities to keep our Embassy in Bangkok closely informed on their investigation.
The British government cannot interfere in Thailand’s judicial proceedings, just as other governments are unable to interfere in our own judicial processes.
That said, we are very concerned by the allegations of corruption and mistreatment of the suspects and it is very important that whoever committed these murders is brought to justice.
We call for the investigation to be conducted in a fair and transparent way, in line with international standards.
■ Does the FCO believe the British involvement in the investigation will reassure those, including friends and family of Hannah, who have concerns about the investigation?
We continue to provide support and assistance to Hannah and David’s family at this tragic time. We do not comment on the detail of individual consular cases nor on the assistance we have provided.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/foreign_commonwealth_office_answer_our_10_questions_on_the_hannah_witheridge_case_1_3820462


SURAT THANI — British police made a surprise visit to Koh Tao on Saturday to inspect locations related to the murders of two backpackers, a source said. 
British police, accompanied by their Thai counterparts, on Saturday inspect Sairee beach on Koh Tao where two Britons were murdered.
They arrived on the island by helicopter from Bangkok, accompanied by Jarumporn Suramanee, an adviser to the national police chief, and Suwat Jaengyodsuk, acting deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.
Pol Maj Gen Suwat is the chief investigator in the case, having been assigned earlier by national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang to take over from local officers. Pol Gen Jarumporn is a forensic expert who went to the crime scene days after the murder occurred.
The trip was kept secret, with no police officers in Surat Thani province or Provincial Police Region 8 informed. Police based on Koh Tao and neighbouring Koh Phangan were not allowed to join the meeting or take pictures of the visitors.
Only one rescue volunteer on Koh Tao was brought in to provide information about the events of Sept 15, when Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were killed, according to the source.
The British team went to Sairee beach were the two were murdered, and inspected the nearby location where the two suspects stayed and were seen playing guitar. They also went to the AC Bar where the two victims had been seen before their deaths, and stopped at a place near the clock tower where police claimed they had found Miller's mobile phone.
They took pictures and asked for information before holding closed-door talks in the meeting room of the Koh Tao municipality before returning to Bangkok.
Three Scotland Yard police were believed to be on the trip from Bangkok, joining two others who had come to the island on Friday, according to the source.
At least one British officer is a homicide detective and another one is an experienced crime scene expert, another source said. They arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday.
Koh Tao mayor Chaiyant Turasakul said he was not aware of the visit and was only ordered to arrange local officials to facilitate their visit.
The visit of the British officers is a response to widespread concern about the Thai police investigation into the killings.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to a request by British Premier David Cameron to allow British police to observe the work of Thai police when the two met at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan on Oct 17.
Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, two workers from Rakhine state in Myanmar, have been in custody since Oct 2 on murder and rape charges. Police said the pair had confessed to the crimes.
However, the suspects this week recanted their confessions, claiming they were tortured and their lives were threatened by Thai investigators. Lawyers acting for them have asked the Office of the Attorney-General to re-investigate all the evidence instead of relying only on the information supplied by police.
Prosecutors also have asked the police for more information to support an indictment, saying the initial 300-page investigative report was not complete.
The National Human Rights Commission is investigating the torture claims and the Lawyers Council of Thailand has stepped in to offer the two men legal assistance and fight the case.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/439572/uk-police-quietly-tour-koh-tao

Father of Koh Tao Accused Describes Threats Against His Son

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Friday, October 24, 2014 0 comments

Friday, October 24, 2014
CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Tun Tun Hteik, the father of Win Zaw Htun, one of two Burmese suspects in the Koh Tao murder case, told The Irrawaddy on Friday of threats made against his son by Thai police that led to his confession.
Parents of the Koh Tao murder suspects visit the Koh Samui provincial legal department office on Friday. (Photo: Min Oo / The Irrawaddy)
Parents of the Koh Tao murder suspects visit the Koh Samui provincial legal department office on Friday. (Photo: Min Oo / The Irrawaddy)

The parents of the two Burmese migrants accused of killing two British tourists arrived at Koh Samui in southern Thailand on Friday morning and were able to meet their sons for the first time since their arrest.
“When I asked him why he confessed [to killing the British tourists], he said that the police and interpreter threatened to kill them—to cut off their hands and legs and throw them into the sea and to pour fuel on them and set them on fire. They then confessed as they were afraid,” Tun Tun Hteik said. “So, they have now openly admitted that they didn’t kill them.”
Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 21 years old, were detained by police on Oct. 2 for the alleged murder of British tourists David Miller and Hannah Witheridge, whose bodies were found on the morning of Sept. 15 on Koh Tao in Thailand’s Surat Thani province.
Aung Myo Thant, a Burmese lawyer assigned by the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok to assist the accused during the legal process, told The Irrawaddy that his group, along with the suspects’ parents, met the two migrants from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.
“Basically, they [the accused] admitted that they weren’t involved in this crime. We submitted documents signed by their parents to the legal provincial office [the prosecutor’s office] on Koh Samui to review the case,” Aung Myo Thant said.
The Koh Tao murders have made international headlines, with rights groups and other observers, including from within Thailand, openly critical of the Thai police’s handling of the investigation.
In early October, Thailand’s national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told reporters on Koh Tao that the two Burmese migrants had confessed to the killings. He also said that DNA samples taken from the two men matched DNA found on the female victim.
Htoo Chit, executive director of the Foundation for Education and Development migrant rights group, also traveled with the suspects’ parents to Koh Samui.
“Their parents are happy as their sons officially reported that they didn’t commit the crime,” Htoo Chit told The Irrawaddy.
Surapong Kongchantuk of the Lawyer’s Council of Thailand said on Friday that his legal team would help the suspects to ensure they receive justice in accordance with Thai law.
“We want and hope to see the truth come out in this case in order to arrest those who really committed the crime,” Surapong said. The two accused men also told the Thai fact-finding team, who met with the two suspects on Koh Samui, that they weren’t responsible for the murders.
“They said they didn’t kill [the two British tourists] or rape the female tourist. They said they didn’t even know about the incident,” added Surapong.
The parents of the two migrants arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday and met with members of the Lawyers Council of Thailand and the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand at the Burmese Embassy.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/father-koh-tao-accused-describes-threats-son.html



Two Burmese men suspected of murder on the Thai island of Koh Tao have officially recanted their confessions.

 Both twenty one year olds allege they were forced to admit to the killing of two British tourists in September.

The about-turn came on Tuesday night, as family members arrived in Bangkok.
 ___ DVB

 24 October 2014
The father of one of the detained suspects in the Koh Tao murder case has told DVB that at theirfamily reunion this afternoon, his son told him that he and his friend confessed to rape and murder only after Thai interrogators threatened to kill them, and that they did not commit the alleged crimes.
Htun Htun Htike, the father of Win Zaw Htun, said, “My son and his friend [Zaw Lin] told me that they were subjected to physical torture by the Thai police and their translator.
“The interrogators told them to confess to the crime, and threatened to cut off their limbs, put them in a bag, and dump them in a river if they did not.
“The police also threatened to tie the two boys to a tire, pour petrol on it, and set it alight,” he toldDVB’s Aye Nai in an exclusive interview on Friday. “My son said they were terrified and confessed. But now that we [their parents and Burmese officials] are present, they can speak the truth – that they did not commit the murder.
“My son also told me that the police threatened to use tasers on them.”
Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 21, from Kyaukphyu in Arakan State, had been living and working on the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand when, on 15 September, the bodies of English tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, were found on Sairee Beach.
Both had been bludgeoned to death while Miss Witheridge was also raped.
The case generated immense media interest around the world and the Thai police and government has been under diplomatic pressure to find the killers.
Both the Thai police chief in charge of the investigation and the Thai prime minister have claimed that the case was handled correctly and that the two Burmese migrants were not scapegoats.
http://dvb.no/news/koh-tao-murders-thai-police-threatened-to-burn-my-son-alive-burma-myanmar-thailand-koh-samui/45369

24 Oct 2014 at 
SURAT THANI — Relatives on Friday met with the two Myanmar suspects in the Koh Tao tourist murders for the first time since their arrest three weeks ago. 
Tun Tun Htike (left) and his wife Zaw Aye Maung talk with reporters after visiting their son Win Zaw Htun at the Samui prison on Friday. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
Afterward, they gave vivid accounts of violent death threats that the suspects claimed police made to force confessions to crimes that they now deny.
Tun Tun Htike and his wife Zaw Aye Maung, the parents of Win Zaw Htun, and Phu Shwe Nu and Thien Shwe Aug, the mother and uncle of Zaw Lin, visited the men for more than two hours at the prison on Koh Samui in Surat Thani province.
Nine people accompanying them to the prison included representatives of the Myanmar embassy, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand and Lawyers Council of Thailand.
The two migrant workers are charged with killing Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, whose bodies were found on Sai Ree beach on Koh Tao on Sept 15. They are also charged with raping Withderidge.
Tun Tun Htike said after the meeting that his son confirmed in tears that he was innocent and that police had tortured him to confess that he and Zaw Lin had killed the two British tourists.
"I hope for justice from the Thai judicial process for my son,” he said.
Tun Tun Htike gave more shocking details of the meeting with his son in an exclusive interview with DVB.
"The interrogators told them to confess to the crime, and threatened to cut off their limbs, put them in a bag and dump them in a river if they did not,'' DVB quoted him as saying.
"The police also threatened to tie the two boys to a tyre, pour petrol on it, and set it alight," the father said. "My son said they were terrified and confessed. But now that we [their parents and Myanmar officials] are present, they can speak the truth — that they did not commit the murder.
"My son also told me that the police threatened to use tasers on them."
The parents and those accompanying them later lodged a complaint in writing with the Office of the Attorney-General through the office in Samui district. The evidence includes letters signed by the two suspects, their mothers, and the lawyers for the embassy and council.
Theerawut Prammahant, deputy chief of the Samui state prosecution office, said authorities there would forward it to the head office in Bangkok as soon as possible.
He said public prosecutors would look at all the evidence in the interest of fairness to both police and defendants.
The relatives arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday and travelled to Koh Samui on Thursday evening.
The two suspects, aged 21, from Rakhine state were arrested on Oct 2. Police have said they have DNA evidence that links the pair to the crimes. However, prosecutors who examined the 300-page investigative report said they needed more detail before they could decide whether the case could proceed.
The two suspects formally withdrew their confessions on Tuesday when they met two lawyers from the Lawyers Council at the prison.
The council on Wednesday called for state prosecutors not to rush to make a decision on an indictment until they had evidence claimed by the suspects to counter the police allegations.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said it was normal for suspects to recant confessions but in this case he did not expect any problem because authorities were handling it in compliance with the law.
The police investigation into the Koh Tao killings has been widely criticised at home and abroad. The original crime scene was trampled, numerous people were named as possible suspects, and nearly 300 people made to take DNA tests.
However, the speed with which the DNA tests on the suspects were completed, compared with those on other people, has led to calls for the tests to be independently checked.
The British government became sufficiently concerned that it asked to help with the case. A team of British police officers is expected to arrive in Thailand this coming week but local authorities say they will be here only as observers.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/439431/parents-visit-koh-tao-suspects

Ancient Arakan Gold and Sliver Coins

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