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UK and Myanmar welcome to ‘observe’ progress on Koh Tao murders

Yesterday Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the United Kingdom and Myanmar are welcome to ‘observe’ the progress on the Koh Tao murder case and if they wish they can send personnel to visit the site and gather information alongside the Thai police who are ready to share information with both countries if they remain suspicious about the case. The Thai remain of the firm belief they have the right people for the brutal murder of the two British backpackers.

The announcement came after a three hour meeting took place between the British and Myanmar ambassadors, the police and the Foreign Ministry in which the ambassadors sought permission to send representatives to observe and follow up on the investigation with the police.

Police chief Pol General Somyot Pumpanmuang said that the discussion with the ambassadors was not so much a meeting but rather just an opportunity to explain how the police had solved the case and clarification of what he said was a quick process that had been widely questioned by skeptics, he told reporters that the ambassadors now have a better understanding of the police work and did not express any suspicion over it. He went on to say that if the British wished to take part in the observation there would be no police anxiety as they believe the investigation results have some out right.

Yesterday advanced testimony by three state witnesses in the murder case was given at the Samui provincial court, despite complaints from one human-rights activist that it was hurried, however the judges were convinced by the public prosecutors that the advanced testimony would not put the defendants at a disadvantage as the statements did not contain crucial information against them. The case is in fact currently in the public prosecutors authority and not even yet at the trial stage, when it would fall under the court’s jurisdiction. When individuals involved in Thai cases are foreigners advanced testimonies are allowed under Thai procedural regulations.

Despite constant reassurances from the Prime Minister and the police there is still widespread speculation from the general public as to whether or not the two men in custody are the right suspects. Many involved in on online discussion on the case on social media network sites continue to question why the two men did not leave the island and why the voluntarily gave their DNA in the first round of testing of migrant workers in Koh Tao. The general size and stature of the men has also come into question with regards to their ability to carry out such a crime as has their motive and questions have been raised as to what would cause two men playing guitars on the beach to turn into cold blooded reckless killers capable of a crime of such brutality and then seemingly being able to carry on as normal the following day.

Meanwhile the Thai PBS reported that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has wanted the Sports and Tourism Ministry to screen incoming tourists to make sure they are of quality.  However, he said that this did not mean that backpackers would not be welcome in this country but the Sports and Tourism Ministry must be more selective in allowing tourists to come to Thailand.

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