KOH TAO – Thai authorities on the Island of Koh Tao are insisting that they did not pin the murders of two British tourists on the two Buremese as “Scapegoats” in an effort to wrap up the controversial investigation, according to a Khoasod News Report.
This week, police arrested two Burmese migrant workers and paraded them in public as the culprits behind the gruesome murder of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, on Koh Tao island last month.
Thai police have been under immense pressure to solve the killing of the two British backpackers, with authorities worried that the grisly murder could further damage the country’s ailing tourist industry.
According to police, the Burmese workers confessed to sexually assaulting Witheridge and murdering her and Miller on 15 September. Police also insist that their confession is backed by DNA tests and CCTV footage in the area.
“Don’t say they are scapegoats,” said deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan when a reporter asked whether he was confident that the Burmese suspects were not being framed.
He however admitted that the two men were not given access to lawyers during their interrogation. He said the suspects did not ask for lawyers because they decided to confess on their own.
Thai police have an extensive history of obtaining false confessions from suspects through abuse. Just last week, two Burmese men told Irrawaddy that Thai police beat them when they refused to confess to the murder.
The Phuket Gazette reported that a taxi driver on Koh Tao, off the Surat Thani coast, yesterday went public with his accusation that police investigating the murders of two British tourists had tried to intimidate him into providing false testimony.
Mainstream Thai newspapers have largely reported in line with the police narrative, referring to the suspects as “murderers” and “culprits.”