Three local teenagers have been arrested on Koh Samui for the murder of Burmese migrant worker Thet Soe on the Thai island last Friday.
A report in Thailand’s Khao Sod newspaper quoted the police superintendent in Bo Phut subdistrict as saying that Nai Phanlung, 18, Nai Piya, 17, and 16-year-old Nai Taeya were detained on Tuesday morning by police based on evidence compiled from witness accounts and CCTV footage.
The three reportedly confessed to murdering Thet Soe and re-enacted their crime around noon on 3 March. The police chief said they each testified that they had been travelling on mopeds when Thet Soe crashed into one of them on his motorcycle, then fled the scene. The trio chased him down on their bikes and demanded 500 baht (US$17) compensation.
The three Thai teenagers said that Thet Soe agreed to pay and led them to his home to collect the money. The suspects claim that the Burmese migrant tried to attack them when they got off their motorbikes, and they fought back, stabbing him in the stomach and then slitting his throat.
The trio took police to the site where they said they burned the victim’s moped in a coconut plantation. The police superintendent said that the shirt and jacket Thet Soe was wearing when he died were also recovered.
The Khao Sod report said the three were facing charges of murder, weapons possession and robbery.
Thet Soe, 22, was the eldest son of Maung Win and Daw Soe, from Muyitkalay village in Mon State’s Chaungson village. He was also a relative of Chaw Nge Nge, who was killed on Koh Samui in a separate incident the week before.
Thet Soe’s father, Maung Win, said that the local police did not inform the family about the suspects’ arrest nor invite him to the re-enactment of the crime.
“I am doubtful that these three youths are the real culprits,” he said.
Than Shwe, a member of a Burmese charity organisation on Koh Samui, said the three suspects are known thugs in the area – one had been involved in the robbery of two Burmese migrants in the past – and that they are only “a part of a larger gang”.
He said their arrest does little to relieve the fear that many migrants on the island feel.