Saturday, October 4, 2014

Suspicions surround arrest of Myanmar men over Koh Toh murder

Published on Sunday, 05 October 2014 03:00
The accused two Myanmar migrant workers reenact the crime scene in Koh Toh in the photo released by the Thai police on October 3 (Photo – AFP)
The arrest of two Myanmar migrant workers for the murder of two British tourists in Thailand's Koh Toh has sparked criticisms, claiming flaws in the arrest.
According to the comments posted at the Bangkok Post website, both local and foreign people including the Thai people do not believe the two men were the real culprits after the Thai police charged them with alleged rape and murder on October 3.
The Thai police charged them after the two illegal migrant workers admitted that they killed David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23. The bodies of the two British tourists were found on Koh Toh on September 15.
The Thai police claimed that the DNA samples from the two men matched the DNA samples found on Witheridge's body. The police obtained DNA samples from 200 men residing and working at the island and the majority of them were taken from Myanmar migrant workers. However, the police earlier announced that the DNA testing did not match with the samples found on the British lady. Then, the police announced that the two Myanmar workers admitted to the murder and abruptly announced that the DNA samples from the two men matched the DNA samples found on Witheridge's body.
Earlier, the police have announced that a condom was found near the crime scene and Witheridge's DNA was found on the outside, but they did not reveal what was found on the inside of the condom.
The Thai investigation team revealed Win, 21, and Soe, 21 as the alleged culprits. The police have also detained Maung, 23, another Myanmar migrant worker besides the two men.
Win confessed that he attacked the British tourists with the plan to rape the woman after he saw them having sex. However, his confession contradicts the Thai police's earlier announcement on not finding evidence that the tourists were walking on the beach together and had stopped near the guesthouse to have sex. Moreover, the Thai police have announced earlier that no evidence of Miller's DNA was found on Witheridge's body. The police said they believed Miller was killed when he came to rescue Witheridge, who he had met recently.
A Myanmar lawyer representing the two Myanmar workers told BBC that the Thai police claimed to have found the mobile phone of the dead woman in the men's living quarters even though there are evidences of the mobile phone being submitted to the police station by her friend a day after the murder took place.
The Thai police offered an award of Bt 700,000 (Ks 21 million) for information to the murder. On October 1, a taxi driver accused the police of beating him up when he refused to give false evidence against a football team for the murder of the British tourists.
The British media has been deeply criticising the various flaws in the investigations after the murder took place. Many people believe the Thai police used the two Myanmar migrant workers as scapegoats due to hard pressure to solve the crime.
A delegation from the Myanmar embassy will meet with the suspects today after having doubts on the police's announcement that Myanmar migrant workers committed the murder.
Kyaw Thaung, executive director of Thai-based Myanmar Association told the Daily Eleven yesterday that the delegation had planned to see the two men yesterday, but they could not go until today as they needed to collect data. 
A delegation from the Myanmar embassy consisting of a consular officer from the Myanmar embassy, two lawyers from the Thai Lawyer Council, and Thai-based Myanmar workers organisations will try to travel from Surat Thani Province to the prison where the two suspects are detained to hold a direct meeting with them, according to Kyaw Thaung.
"Yesterday, the Thai police chief asked the two Myanmar workers alleged as suspects to reconstruct the murder at the Turtle Island (Kah Tao). This news was printed and broadcasted in Thai newspapers and TV channels. Both the Thais and the foreigners don't believe the Myanmar men killed them. I saw satirical cartoons in Thai newspapers saying the real culprit has been set free. The Myanmar ambassador for Thailand requested my help in investigating the truth of this incident so a delegation including two lawyers from the Thai Lawyer Council will go to meet with the Myanmar workers directly and question them. We will also try to meet with their friends, who are also Myanmar migrant workers. I've learnt that over ten people have been arrested," said Kyaw Thaung.
Whenever a murder case takes place in Thailand, the Thai police tend to arrest the Myanmar workers first and use various torture methods such as throwing hot water on the face and using cylindrical rulers on the ankles. Kyaw Thaung said he has doubts on the Thai police due to the past incident where the police initially accused an ethnic Chin migrant worker of murdering a university student in Chiang Mai, but the real culprit turned out to be a Cambodian. 
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