Monday, September 29, 2014

Thailand: Police: It is Time for Survivors of Miller, Witheridge to Request a Briefing from British Envoy

According to The Bangkok Post, police investigators say they believe three assailants were involved in the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao in Surat Thani on September 15. 
"Two of the suspects raped and killed Witheridge while another one witnessed the murder," Pol. LtGen. Panya Mamen, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8, said Sunday (September 28) after a meeting with investigators to discuss case updates.
The murders of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, occurred in the early hours of the morning after they left AC Bar.
"We're confident we have a very high chance of finding the suspects," the senior police officer said.
Investigators on Sunday seized three guitars from a shelter of Myanmar workers for examination. One of them was hidden without anyone admitting ownership, but the other two had owners, police sources said. "I'm not worried [about high public expectations] because I know how much the probe has been progressing. We just have to follow forensic results," he added.
Police also have also approached seven Thai football players living in Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Muang districts for DNA samples. They joined a traditional football match on Koh Tao on September 14.
COMMENT: It seems problematic that the Tourism Ministry is playing any substantive role in what seemingly is an apparently dubious police investigation at best that continues to leave foreigners what the investigative strategy actually is and restoring prompt confidence in the police. 

Increasingly, confidence in the police seems to be diminishing to the point that family members of the British couple should force a meeting with the British Ambassador and request a briefing on what is known and what is not. 

One major disconnect is that the Thai police are simply incapable of keeping  the murder victims' families abreast of the investigation and establishing credibility in the progress of the double-homicide investigation.

Pol. LtGen. Panya said police have set up a special team to probe rumors, unconfirmed information and tips from the public.
Results from more than 200 DNA tests conducted in Koh Tao should be ready Monday, the head of the police forensic unit said.
Pol. LtGen. Kamrob Panyakaew, chief of the Office of Police Forensic Science, said his staff was working 24 hours a day analyzing DNA samples.
Two different semen samples collected from Witheridge's body are the basis for the DNA analysis. Testing confirmed the semen belonged to Asian nationals.

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