Wednesday, October 15, 2014

UK: Number of Inquests is a "Flag" on a Country's Risk Exposure to Foreigners

According to the October 15, 2014 issue of Phuketwana British tourist, Stephen Ashton, 22, who was killed in a crossfire as rival gangs engaged in a shootout on Thailand's party island of Koh Phangan was unlawfully killed, a British coroner has ruled.

The death of Stephen Ashton, 22, during a beach party at the Zoom Bar on January 1 last year was an ''aggressive act,'' Coroner Selena Lynch said in Croydon.

According to The Croydon Advertiser, a statement from Somsak Noo-Rod, a Thai Police lieutenant, read at the hearing said that the suspect, Thai gangster Ekkapan Kaewkla, first went to the Drop In Bar and was then chased to the Zoom Bar.

Ekkapan Kaewkla opened fire.

The Zoom Bar was popular with tourists for full-moon parties, Lieutenant Noo-Rod said. A large number of tourists were at the bar when the fight broke out.

A statement from Krittakan Kra-momthong, a Thai Police colonel, said Koh Phanghan police station notified officers of a fatal shooting on the beach at the Zoom Bar at 0420 hours.

COMMENT: A post-mortem carried out in Thailand found that Ashton died from a lung laceration from a gunshot to his lower chest.

Coroner Lynch said: ''My difficulty is that if this was killing in self defense it wouldn't be murder or manslaughter; it would be lawful. I have to be sure beyond a reasonable doubt before I render a verdict of unlawful killing.

'Transferring malice is murder, and based on that I am satisfied that this was an aggressive act. It has the appearances of a gang fight, and of deliberate provocation of a gang fight to be dealt with by using a firearm."

Ekkapan Kaewkla was found guilty of murder and received a 34-year prison sentence in Thailand, Ashton's mother said.

In a related matter, another inquest has been scheduled for January 6 in Britain for Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, both of whom were bludgeoned to death on Koh Tao, a ferry ride from Phangan, on September 15. 

There have been massive controversy in Thai media as to the clarity and deliberate investigation in the deaths of the two Britons. See below:

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