Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thailand: Update--Brutality, Violence of British Couple Has Little To Do with Bikinis

According to AFPThailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who is also the most senior executive in the Royal Thai Army, questioned "whether tourists in bikinis are safe in the Kingdom," in comments following the murder of two Britons whose battered remains were found on a Koh Tao on Monday (September 15).

Britons David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found bludgeoned, sparking a hunt for the couple's killers. Post-mortem examinations were carried out on Wednesday (September 17) after the bodies were transferred to Bangkok.

Authorities have made no arrests, despite questioning several suspects including two British men--who are believed to have traveled with Miller--and a number of Myanmar migrant workers.

"There are always problems with tourist safety. They think our country is beautiful and is safe so they can do whatever they want, they can wear bikinis and walk everywhere," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, told government officials.

But "can they be safe in bikinis...unless they are not beautiful?" he said, addressing the issue of tourist safety in a speech broadcast live on television.

The Prime Minster, who seized power from an elected government in a May 22 coup, is well known for making off-the-cuff remarks.

The PM's statement appeared to echo others made to reporters on Tuesday in which he questioned the behavior of the murder victims as well as the perpetrators.

Thailand is desperate to avoid further damage to its lucrative tourism industry, which has been battered in recent months after a prolonged political crisis ended in the coup.

COMMENT: It is less than gentlemanly for the Thai Prime Minister to blame the young British couple who have the misfortune of dying a brutal death, regardless of their conduct that may or may not have contributed to their respective deaths.

Forensic investigators are awaiting the results of DNA tests on a blonde hair found in Witheridge's hand and traces of semen, according to the findings of  autopsies performed on Wednesday.

"The results are expected within 24 hours so everything will become clear tomorrow (Thursday)," forensic police chief Pornchai Sutheerakhun told reporters after the autopsy.

"The female victim suffered cuts to her head... while the male was beaten on the head, but water found in Miller's lungs suggest that he may have died from drowning." 

A bloodied garden hoe was also found near the crime scene.

Earlier Wednesday a provincial police commander said an unidentified Asian man captured by security cameras on the night of the killings was being treated as their "prime suspect."

The two suspects in their 20s have been asked to remain in Bangkok until the case has been sorted out.

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