On the day British police finally made it to the Thai island of Koh Tao the scene of the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, Britain’s Foreign Office has stated that it is concerned not only about the alleged mistreatment of the two Burmese men now held in Koh Samui jail but also concerned about allegations of corruption.
This is the first time the British authorities have referred to corruption in the Thai Police investigation and the term was used in answers to ten questions submitted by the local newspaper the East Anglian Daily Times.
On being asked how confident it was that those responsible for the killings would be brought to justice the FCO replied:
“We want to see the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice and we have asked the Thai authorities to keep our Embassy in Bangkok closely informed on their investigation.
The British government cannot interfere in Thailand’s judicial proceedings, just as other governments are unable to interfere in our own judicial processes.
That said, we are very concerned by the allegations of corruption and mistreatment of the suspects and it is very important that whoever committed these murders is brought to justice.
We call for the investigation to be conducted in a fair and transparent way, in line with international standards.”
It is not clear what allegations of corruption the FCO are referring to. There have been public allegations that they offered to pay a taxi driver to give false testimony, but other allegations relating to the police relationship to a local island family, which in the view of many has access to the truth, have only been mentioned in social media.
The FCO stated: “A detective chief inspector from the Metropolitan Police Service Homicide and Major Crime Command and a forensic operations co-ordinator from Forensic Services have been deployed and are in Thailand.”
The Bangkok Post reported today that other officers had already been on the island since Friday.
COMMENT: If Thailand needs to get ‘in line’ with international standards it should of course remove the shackles of the two Burmese, Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin.