COMMENT: PERHAPS IT'S TIME TO GIVE THE THAI POLICE A BREAK!
(Update. This article was clearly an aberration. But I am leaving it up as a lesson to myself)
The international press has pulled off the Koh Tao murder story now, perplexed, bored, and some downright pee’d off.
But despite the repetitive promises of the case being solved and then not being solved, this case actually may be coming to, an Agatha Christie type ending worthy of a Hollywood film.
The killers however will have little depth. The barbarity of the killings suggest merely primitive motives.
Perhaps too much emphasis has been put on Thai Police who never seem to learn from previous high profile murder, and more about the people in both the shadows and the limelight.
Journalists first arriving on this island, where Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were so brutally hacked and beaten to death, were deliberately led up the garden path with a story which was echoed in almost every bar (passed on by the English speaking Thais).
That story was that David Miller was gay and he had arrived on the island with three gay friends. But on the night of the murder they had met Hannah and her girlfriends – and David went off with Hannah.
David’s gay lover was enraged like a crazy man…end of story.
The story was convenient and put an end to local speculation story but was so preposterous it could have only have been made up by people living on island like the one depicted in the ‘Whicker Man’where everybody sings to the same tune - pon prayote - for the benefit of all.
The only people likely to believe it were rather naïve backpackers, and local people being pushed the local line.
There are of course only two types of expendable people on the island in the view of the local population – the first the 2000 or so Burmese, who are there illegally but for the benefit of all who can stay if they pay a portion of their salary to police reported at about 500 baht a month, the second the foreigners.
This story followed the expected course, first he mad gay hoe-man, then the Burmese, then the foreigners, then the Burmese again, now maybe some Thais.
And then, when it came to the local politicians there was the expected uproar. How dare the police, media, make such allegations. A press conference was held. But the press conference may not have been for so much for the head man to tell the world his relatives were not involved, but to lay down a few rules as well.
In fact the island may well have been entering the ‘Nemo me impune lacessit’ (Nobody attacks me with impunity) stage at this time.
When the news came that a taxi driver said he had been offered a 700,000 bribe and then been beaten when he did not co-operate, I like other people was disgusted. Having read of what the Thai police had done in previous cases that definetly seemed on the cards.
First run by Manager-ASTV online and then promoted in English by Prachathai however, it did not garner much more local media attention. And in the SUN in London the newspaper used it as a throwaway line at the end of a story.
That may be of course for two reasons; either other Thai media were scared of the police, which on a direct level they are, or they just did not believe it. 700,000 baht the alleged bribe coincidentally happens to be the size of the reward offered and the taxi driver had no wounds to show. Nor did he appear to elaborate on the beatings.
Then the local kamnan declared that police should treat witnesses well and not look for scapegoats; worthy words from another island strong man.
It’s possible police ARE on to something.
The killers have fled. If not from Koh Tao itself it looks increasingly like they are from the Samui Archipelago (that place of dreams and shattered dreams) and neighbouring spots on the mainland near Chumpon.
That local island leaders do not know who it was – is not really an option I have considered. But it certainly was not Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum with the garden hoe.
The Police should maybe cut some slack now; nevertheless Thailand should curb its killers and not put the blame on tourists for being murdered. It seems almost inevitable they will put themselves in a hole again.
Meanwhile this at the Independent is a reasonable point of view