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Thai PM questions if 'tourists in bikinis' safe after Koh Tao murders

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Thai PM questions if 'tourists in bikinis' safe after murders
by Anusak KONGLANG

BANGKOK, September 17, 2014 (AFP) - Thailand's military ruler on Wednesday questioned whether tourists in bikinis are safe in the kingdom, in comments following the murder of two Britons whose battered bodies were found on a Thai island.

David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found dead on the southern island of Koh Tao on Monday, sparking a hunt for their killers. Post-mortem examinations were carried out on Wednesday after the bodies were brought to Bangkok.

But authorities are yet to make an arrest despite questioning several suspects including two British men -- who are believed to have travelled with Miller -- and a number of Myanmar migrant workers.

"There are always problems with tourist safety. They think our country is beautiful and is safe so they can do whatever they want, they can wear bikinis and walk everywhere," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who is also the army chief, told government officials.

But "can they be safe in bikinis... unless they are not beautiful?" he said, addressing the issue of tourist safety in a speech broadcast live on television.

Prayut, who seized power from elected government in a May 22 coup, is well known for making off-the-cuff remarks.

His statement appeared to echo others made to reporters on Tuesday in which he questioned the behaviour of the murder victims as well as the perpetrators.

Thailand is desperate to avoid further damage to the nation's lucrative tourism industry, which has been battered in recent months after a prolonged political crisis ended in a coup.

The army swiftly declared a curfew and strict martial law after coming to power in May, frightening off some visitors.

-- DNA breakthrough? --

Forensic investigators are awaiting the results of DNA tests on a blonde hair found in the Witheridge's hand and traces of semen, according to the findings of a post-mortem examination carried out on Wednesday.

"The results are expected within 24 hours so everything will become clear tomorrow (Thursday)," forensic police chief Pornchai Sutheerakhun, told reporters after the autopsy.

"The female victim suffered cuts to her head... while the male was beaten on the head... but water found in his lungs suggests he may have died from drowning," he said, adding cuts on Miller's hands showed signs of a struggle.

The wounds were inflicted by "a sharp, hard object... and (they were) hit hard with a rock," he added.

A bloodied garden hoe was also found near the crime scene.

Earlier Wednesday a provincial police commander said an unidentified Asian man captured by security cameras on the night of killings was being treated as their "prime suspect". But he later toned down his remarks.

"Every group (person) is still under suspicion" he told AFP, including two British travellers who were stopped at the capital's main airport late Tuesday.

The two men in their 20s have been asked to remain in Bangkok until the case is resolved.

Thai police have pinned hopes on DNA results yielding a breakthrough in the three-day investigation.

But conflicting details over the focus of the police inquiry, released by different figures in a force which rarely centralises its information, have created a confused picture.

Prayut on Tuesday urged investigators to conclude the cases "swiftly" and raised concern over the impact on the country's image.

With the start of the tourist high season just two months away, the junta had vowed to restore the nation's reputation as the "Land of

Smiles", embarking on a clean-up of resorts after a series of complaints about scams, assaults and even police extortion.

afplogo.jpg
-- (c) Copyright AFP 2014-09-17

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No murders if no bikinis.... Hmm

Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect Thailand

Edited by SirBser
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you have to protect yourself, there is no guaranteed safety anywhere whether speedos or a jacket.. Some places may be safer than others, along with atmosphere, which might have more to do with it than merely because of beach swimwear. Jeez.

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Autopsy shows British tourists died from blows
By Digital Content

BANGKOK, Sept 17 -- The two British tourists whose bodies were found on a beach in southern Thailand earlier this week died from hard objects hitting their heads.

DNA tests are expected to be known tomorrow, Pol Maj Gen Dr Pornchai Sutheerakun, commander of Police General Hospital’s Institute of Forensic Medicine, said today.

Dr Pornchai said 24-year-old David Miller died after being hit on his head while water was also found in his lungs.

Medical examiners initially believed the victim was thrown into the sea after being hit by the hard object.

Bruises were also found on the back of the victim’s hands and on his back, and it is believed that they were caused while attempting to protect himself before he died, he said.

Regarding 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge, Dr Pornchai said she was struck hard by a sharp object on her head. Semen was found in both her anal and vaginal cavities

Police medical examiners are checking strands of blonde hair in her right hand and were to conduct DNA tests to compare with that of the suspects whom police had interrogated earlier, he said.

Dr Pornchai said he expected results of DNA tests on the two victims would be known by Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, officials from the British embassy in Bangkok had contacted Institute officials, informing them the embassy wished to take possession of their bodies for funeral rites.

In another development, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda told journalists that Thai officials were putting every effort into finding the murderer.

Gen Anupong said he would order the Surat Thani governor at a meeting tomorrow to help speed up the investigation.

The bodies of the two British tourists were found Monday on a beach of Ko Tao, an island in the Gulf of Thailand and off the southern province of Surat Thani. (MCOT online news)

tnalogo.jpg
-- TNA 2014-09-17

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The PM is a General,which in fact explains his explanation about the 'bikini tourists'

Another world in this time and age!!

Edited by hgma

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General Prayuth, there MIGHT be a time for those reflections/observations. However, now is the time for expressing regret/sympathy/horror rather than some lame, half-arsed "blame the victim" approach. Not nice.

He isn't really a politician, now is he ?

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