According to AFP, residents on the Thai island where two British tourists were brutally murdered have reportedly pooled their funds into a reward for clues about the killers, as police seemingly have exhausted their suspects and leads.
The search for suspects continued on the southern diving island of Koh Tao after Britons David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found naked and beaten to death near a beachside bungalow early on Monday (September 15).
The police investigation appeared to have stalled after post-mortem examinations of the victims' bodies in Bangkok failed to find DNA links to key suspects questioned thus far.
"At this point we offer 50,000 baht ($1,676) for anyone who can provide clues which lead to the arrest of a suspect," Koh Tao mayor Chaiyan Turasakul told AFP. "The money comes from donations from the people of Koh Tao," the mayor emphasized.
COMMENT: I have suggested it of late and reemphasize that this may now be the time for the Thai junta to reach out to their British counterparts and ask for their help in evaluating what leads, forensic options and suspects the Thais may have missed from the outset.
In other words, what potentially did they miss from the outset of the investigation?
The murders have rocked Koh Tao the normally laid-back island and confirmed that the Land of Smiles is increasingly a periled, unpredictable and dangerous country that to date has been ineffective in protecting foreign tourists.
Several dozen Koh Tao residents held a religious ceremony to offer prayers for the British decedents on Thursday (September 18), Khun Chaiyan said, with many more assisting police in the search.
On Friday (September 19), regional police commander Panya Maman said about 160 officers were hunting for clues on the small island, which neighbors the more-visited Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand.
With no arrests and an apparent lack of new leads, it is unclear where the police investigation can turn.