The last article on this site “Boiling water and beatings, claim Burmese workers” has been deliberately mistranslated and is currently circulating around Thai media and social networking sites stating that I wrote that the men under arrest had been tortured.

This is of course NOT a claim I have made. I have no knowledge of what happened to them while under the care of Thai police, and nobody has made that claim to me. I am curious as to what has happened to the third person who was detained, but that will out in due course.

Misinterpreting is not rare in Thailand. Sometimes it is a genuine mistake. At other times more malicious.

Quite often reports by foreign correspondents are mistranslated by the Thai media and of course the in the last three weeks we have seen numerous locally created false claims, some of which have traveled far, relating to the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.

So may I categorically state that the allegations of the beating and scalding of Burmese migrant workers relate to not the current accused but three of their friends, with whom they were playing takroh/takraw on Saturday September 27th.

And to my Thai friends and colleagues please pass it on and correct where necessary.


“Tonight the Burmese community on Koh Tao claimed three close friends of the suspects were beaten and tortured by Thai police to implicate Saw, Wyn and third man Mau.

Some were said to have had boiling water poured on them. Community leaders also insisted the suspects were innocent.

Their statement was backed by Aung Kyaw, president of the Myanmar Migrant Labour Association in Thailand, who said: “We do not believe they did it.”

His statement read: “Ethnic migrant workers living and working on Koh Tao irregularly (without documents) were accosted by a group of Thai police officers who tried to catch them when they were peacefully playing cane ball. Six among the nine migrants accosted trying to run away were caught.

“Another three were able to run away and escape arrest.

“Three of the six migrants caught were physically beaten and their bodies scalded through pouring over hot boiling water as a means to get information about the three people who had run away from the police arrest.”

About the Author

Andrew Drummond

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker. He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

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