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Police Dismiss Foreign Media Criticism of Koh Tao Murder Forensics

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The Royal Thai police have dismissed foreign medias criticism of the police forensics investigation into the 2014 Koh Tao murder case. The foreign media alleged the forensics investigation was not in accordance with international standards.

The police spokesman Royal Thai Police Spokesman Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo, cited an article posted online by Fairfax media and written by Lindsay Murdoch. With statements made by Jane Taupin, an Australian expert in autopsy and forensics science. Jane Taupin visited Thailand in July 2016 as a forensic science witness.

She accused the police’s forensic science laboratory of not being trustworthy. Despite the fact that she wasn’t invited to join the judicial process in the police investigation.

Same forensic standards as the FBI

Pol Lt Gen Piya confirmed the police had produced DNA samples of both defendants in court. He said they were the same as those collected at the crime scene. Which consequently led to the court sentencing two Myanmar migrant suspects to death. The two still remain in prison and have applied for a royal pardon in Thailand.

The police spokesman said that Police Forensics also operates under the same standards as those followed by the FBI. And above all it has undertaken its forensic work in a scrupulous manner.

The DNA tests were conducted by the Institute of Forensic Medicine of the Police Hospital and also the Office of the Police Forensic Science under international standards. The police officers who carried out the forensic probe appeared in court as witnesses. The police officers gave detailed explanations to address inquiries and objections raised by the defendants’ lawyer.

The case which arose in 2014 was the murder of two British tourists. David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were brutally murdered on Koh Tao island off Surat Thani. Two Myanmar nationals, Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun, were arrested.

In August 2019, the Supreme Court also upheld their death sentences passed by the first court and the Appeals Court.

The two Myanmar migrants initially confessed to the crime but they later retracted their confessions. Saying that they were forced to give them under torture.

In September, the Thai Bar Council reported that the death sentence of  Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo could be stayed. Lawyers said that if the Myanmar government sent a request letter for a royal pardon.

The death sentence awarded to two Myanmar migrants may be stayed. —and they could serve a suspended death sentence.

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