Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thai Police were today raiding the homes and workplaces of more Burmese migrant workers on the Thai holiday island of Koh Tao after DNA tests showed no matches with any former suspects in the murders of Britons Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.

After clearing James and Christopher Ware the long term friends of David Miller and all the Burmes suspects officers raided the area of the  ‘Secret Garden Resort’  on the island taking away four workers. One was a Burmese mechanic who had been on the island for over a decade. He looked considerably puzzled about his arrest - but meekly joined the other three.

Police also went looking for a Burmese working in an American restaurant called ‘Bookers’ – but he had since left the island.

According to the owner he did not turn up for work on Monday - but he had said earlier that he was leaving.

In fact, as the island was never ever locked down (contrary to earlier reports) the killer or killers, who battered the young Brits to death with a hoe early on Monday morning, could not only have but are likely to have made their escape some time ago.

There are four ferry routes out and numerous local boats at their disposal.

An old island hand, who, requested that neither his name nor even nationality be disclosed said: “If the culprits are Thai and from this island they'll either be gone or they will be protected by local forces.

“National Police should also be looking at long term Thais or Burmese who have recently left.”

Asked what forces – replied: ‘Leave it at that’.

There has always been a close relationship with police and the principal island families who control every money making business in this holiday idyll in one form or another.

Claims today that police were looking for  three men - two tall men, one short - who were seen on Sairee beach near the place the bodies where the bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found,  smoking, playing guitar and singing an "English" song in the early hours of Monday morning, were being met with some puzzlement.

Koh Tao police chief Prachum Ruangthongm asked whether the killer might have left replied: “It’s difficult to say.”

DNA forensic evidence now points to the fact that two male raped Hannah and one of their DNAs matched DNA found on a cigarette found nearby.

Members of the family of Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, met Royal Thai Police adviser Jarumporn Suramanee at police headquarters today.

British Consul Michael Hancock said that they were still distressed and it had been comforting to get information from the top as opposed to what they had been getting from the media.

He did not divulge what the Deputy Chief Police told the family.

Had the killers left the island they could have gone by ferry to the islands of Koh Phangan, or Koh Samui or to the mainland provincial capital of Surat Thani, or the town of Chumpon. 

From Chumpon to Victoria Point is only a short trip across the isthmus of Thailand (Isthmus of Kra)  - and ,if the culprits are indeed Burmese as the Thais claim, then they could be back home and safe in half a day.

There are checkpoints but police had no names to pass on.


Sue Jones, the mother of Kirsty Jones, who was brutally raped, and murdered in the northern capital of Chiang Mai in 2001 commented on this site's Facebook page earlier in the week:

"Here we go again,botched investigation, dna contaminated,red herrings everywhere.... Makes me so mad".

Let's hope she is wrong.

Below - one former long term resident's view of Koh Samui - which give another perspective of island life, with thanks to 'John Trove'.


  1. I think it has got to the stage now where the Royal Thai Police have no other option than to ratchet-up the investigation several notches. They have to think big now - very big - to have any chance of arresting the attacker(s). It's still not too late to impose a virtual lock down of Koh Toa. Nor koh Phanghan for that matter. Many more officers need to be drafted in to facilitate a programme of obtaining DNA samples on a mass scale. Hundreds - if not thousands - of samples need to be collected from both islands and also from Chumphon and other villages on the mainland nearest to the island. The Royal Thai Navy needs to get involved. They should be locating - thoroughly searching - questioning - and obtaining DNA samples from all fishing vessels say within a 200 KM distance of Koh Toa. The Burmese authorities should also be involved as it is possible the attackers may have already made their escape back to Myanmar if they were indeed migrant workers or Rohinya. Fishermen from koh Samuii should also be included in the inquiries. And the local population on Koh Tao itself should also be vigorously questioned as I suspect there are locals living there - perhaps influential Thai figures - who know exactly what happened in the early hours of Monday morning. In short - to have any chance of success in the investigation - outside advice from other police forces should be sought immediately by the Royal Thai Police and unlimited funds made available for the investigation. But whether any of this ever happens is anybody's guess. Knowing Thailand I would concur that the current lame duck investigation will drag on inconclusively for many more years to come unless bold and vigorous action is undertaken by the authorities now. (There appear to be stark similarities with the Katherine Horton case of 2006. This should be a big pointer.)

    1. Your average local Thai plod below officer level isn't exactly from the cream of intellectual excellence in the Kingdom. It's a low paid job with little ongoing training. Most arrests come from either tip-offs from informants or confessions. Some obtained by very dubious methods. In cases like this by the time the experienced coppers arrive they are playing catch up and the crime scene is usually completely destroyed by everyone from the body snatchers to reporters trampling all over the place. They usually get their man because the culprit tells somebody who ends up telling someone else until it reaches the ears of someone who turns them in. There are some good Thai police, it's the system riddled by endemic corruption and low wages that makes it impossible for them to avoid getting involved in some form of graft.

  2. I think too much time was wasted in trying to fit up Christopher Ware supporting the police Colonel's deranged fantasy that this was a crime of passion committed by a farang out of jealousy. Everyone knows this was a preferred, convenient outcome so that the Thai could maintain the fiction about their reputation and their revenue from tourism. Simply ghastly beyond belief.

  3. Darsie has summed up correctly, anyone who has lived in any of the three Islands knows very well that they function under their own agenda, it is a black hole if one gets into trouble, the "justice" machinery Police, lawyers, prosecutors, courts, influential people, mafias etc... are all very well connected and their immediate and sole purpose is to get the money. Because of so much booze and drugs in the three Islands Police has easy job catching distracted users and fork out high bribe payments to release the person without any charges. Prices are anywhere from 10.000 Baht for "ganja" related cases up to
    400.000 baht in Class A drug cases. Recently a German Citizen on a sting operation with a Dutch informer as bait was arrested and convicted to 20 years in prison for selling 1 Ecstasy Pill. He was offered a chance not to be charged by paying 1/2 a million Baht which he did not have at that moment. An Italian received a 4 years punishment for being found in possession of 0.35g of ecstasy, also could have paid 200.000 baht to go free. These harsh sentences give the Police a big advantage to extort high amounts of money of scared foreigners who get caught. Everyone knows that every guest house in the Islands sell Ganja, Israelis are the main traffickers of MDMS and Ecstasy, their top man is now purging a life time sentence in a Bangkok prison since 3 years. One of the big problems is that people who can pay are released and go on with their business feeling reassured that they can do anything and pay their way out. After payment the "relationship"with the corrupt Police group becomes more intimate and further payments are made either to complement unpaid initial fees or to continue on the safe side.
    This vicious cycle can only be broken if Police in the Islands would be shifted to other regions and honest , reliable and loyal Police from other far away towns would replace them on a rotation system. The fact that Burmese people are getting some of the blame and treated as suspects is not surprising since their frequent involvement in cases of thievery and other "gang"related criminal activities is well known. People do not report cases out of fear, they are always told that they would be in danger, friends or relatives of the suspects would come after them, also they know that it is a waste of time, people remain very short times in the islands and the Police is not interested in running around to catch someone because of low value material loss. The only reason would lead me to suspect a Burmese involved in this crime is because of their sexual obsession for a white skin and blonde hair color, it simply drives them crazy and if they have enough alcohol in their organism things get unpredictably out of control. As in the idiomatic expression "lost his mind". These Criminals/Police association is a very dangerous situation. Since money is the objective all other important values become secondary. Police becomes hostage to a stranger who feels free to abuse the law, the criminal believes that he can get away with anything. Police let the criminal act expecting reward. Right now there is an ongoing case in Pattaya that typifies this example, a Dutch citizen arrested about three days ago, many years ago inherited a very substantial amount of money, people say, in the order of a couple of million dollars. Over 10 years he has abused Thai written Law in many, many ways, never charged and always paid, his way out, a case a few years ago, when he hit another Dutch with a bottle on the back of the head, injuring him badly, he walked free, right now he is arrested, he is on a two years overstay, I do not know why he is detained, I heard he is about to walk free, why has Immigration not stepped in the case ? All Dutch people who live in Thailand and know the man dislike him and wish he would be deported, similar to other foreign crooks he also was involved in Real Estate swindles. This translates into "money is the law", security is only a superstition.

  4. Gerry sums it up well and accurately. Prayuth has disappointed by trying to move the blame to the tourists themselves ( the old chestnut that girls in mini-skirts are asking for it). Thais just don't like losing face. The parallel with the Kirsty Jones case is all too clear unfortunately. And when will travel bloggers - farang bloggers - stop making excuses. The latest - today - claimed tourist arrivals from UK were unaffected by the two murders. The airlines and travel companies will obviously say that. But bloggers should not be regurgitating what is clear nonsense. But he always does.

  5. Last night I listened to what General Prayuth said about women and bikinis and I think what he said has been twisted and mistranslated. The media as usual have taken something said and turned it into a beat up.

    A Thai relative of mine was recently busted as he had one ganja tree growing in his front yard. He is a retired border patrol policeman on a pension. His wife had to take the rap as he was worried he would lose his pension. She was fined 80,000 baht for one plant!

    Recently a whole squad of police in NST assigned to a checkpoint were busted with a large amount of 'ice' and 'yaba'. In Chiang Mai a high ranking drug suppression officer was arrested with 200,000 yaba tablets. Since the army have taken over we've seen a huge increase in drug busts which leaves you thinking what the hell have the police been doing?

    Most of these cases involving police getting busted simply disappear and are never heard of again.

  6. Play the trump card,offer a massive reward

  7. I listened to his comments too, Weapon. His words were badly chosen. Wearing bikinis does not justify the murders. Do you know how many police officers were on duty on the Island. Drug selling was condoned because of those involved. And for a travel blogger to side with the Thais in quoting misleading figures on there being no airline cancellations is beyond the pale but he always does it given his connections. You wouldn't catch AD grovelling to our "hosts" He tells it as it is.

  8. That would work Teddy but they might put the wrong men in the frame just to get the money. Prayuth is saying he's against that.