Koh Tao murders: UK police can only observe, says Thai police chief

Koh Tao murders: UK police can only observe, says Thai police chief

Thai Police are ready to cooperate with British observers in the case of two British tourists murdered on Koh Tao, according to Pol Col Prachum Ruangthong, superintendent of Phangan police station.

However, the British police would only be allowed to observe the investigation, said Pol Lt-Gen Prawuth Thawornsiri, a spokesman for the Royal Thai Police.

Thailand’s police are willing to cooperate with British officers following up on the case in Thailand, but they cannot participate in the investigation as the law does not allow it, added Pol Lt-Gen Prawuth.

Police have completed their investigation and the case is now with prosecutors, he said, adding it is impossible to interfere in the work of the prosecution.

If British police have any questions, they can ask Thai police to carry out additional investigations, Pol Lt Gen Prawuth said.

[related]

Police are duty-bound to prove the credibility of evidence which backs up their case against two Burmese migrant workers — Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun — who have been charged with the murder of David Miller and the rape-murder of Hannah Witheridge on Sairee Beach.

Thawatchai Siangjaew, chief of Public Prosecution Region 8 and the case’s chief prosecutor, said the arrival of British police will not have any bearing on the judicial process because the investigation is complete.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha denied reports in the British media that he will allow the foreign police to participate in the investigation.

The BBC and The Telegraph reported on Saturday that British investigators would arrive in Thailand to “help with the investigation” after Prime Minister David Cameron persuaded Gen Prayut to allow the move at last week’s Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan.

The reports said British police would independently verify the suspects’ DNA samples and probe whether the suspects’ confessions were obtained using force.

Meanwhile, a 4 October change.org petition (below, screenshot taken early Monday), urging the UK government to independently investigate the murders, passed 100,000 signatures on Friday.

UK law says petitions with at least 100,000 signatures may be debated in the House of Commons under some conditions, but it is unlikely an online petition with no way to verify signers would be accepted.

 

This article was first published in the Bangkok Post on 20 October 2014.

 

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