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Thailand’s PM Allows Second DNA Test for Koh Tao Murder Suspects



A photo illustration of Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun

A photo illustration of Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun

BANGKOK – Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday challenged critics of a police investigation into the murder of two British tourists saying new DNA tests can be done as concern grows that two men arrested (Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun) over the killings might have been framed.

Police Spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said today that following the DNA test, National Police Commissioner General Somyot Poompanmoung, the British ambassador to Thailand, as well as the Institute of Forensic Medicine’s representatives would hold a joint press conference.

Police said the Myanmar men confessed to the crime and their DNA matched samples taken from Witheridge’s body – despite the fact that the two had yet to appear in court to face any charge and speak for themselves.

They later retracted their confessions and said they were tortured into confessing however the Thai Police deny any wrong doing.

“We will not block the right of the suspects to fight the case and we can even test their DNA again if there is suspicion that they are not the culprits,” Prayuth told reporters.

“The DNA test will be conducted at 10 am on October 30,” Prawut said.

The test followed mounting pressures from both Myanmar and Britain. While in Thailand, the parents of the murder suspects also plead for justice for their sons.

Police were under intense pressure to solve the high profile case and were widely accused of bungling the investigation in the days following the attack.

In a related development, the Myanmar ambassador to Thailand today brought the parents of the Myanmar suspects to the Lawyers’ Council for Thailand where the parents officially asked for help.

The murders have dented tourism, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of gross domestic product, at a time when Thailand is still under martial law after a May military coup that had already kept some tourists away.

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Pracha Hariraksapitak

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