Koh Tao murder probe 85 per cent complete: Panya

Koh Tao murder probe 85 per cent complete: Panya
Left: National police chief Pol-General Somyot Poompanmoung, second from left at front, visits Koh Tao yesterday to oversee the hunt for the killers of two British tourists.

The police investigation into the murder of two British backpackers on Koh Tao, off the coast of Surat Thani, is 85 per cent complete, a police commander said yesterday.

Everybody who was in a 600-metre radius of the murder scene between 2am and 4am on September 15 is a suspect, said Pol Lt-General Panya Mamen, chief of the Police Region 8 command. The resort island comes under his jurisdiction.

He said the remaining 15 per cent of the case was classified, and "when overall progress can be revealed, arrests can be made".

Panya said the police probe was not complicated, adding that luck was on their side as leads and tip-offs about the killers were coming in continuously.

"This helps police to do their work more efficiently," he said.

The officer spoke to reporters after landing on the island in a helicopter. A police command post has been set up there, where investigators provide a daily briefing and updates on the case at the orders of deputy national police chief Pol General Somyot Poompanmoung.

A police source said another witness was being interviewed, and that police were conducting a parallel probe to double-check on this person's accounts.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul is to visit Koh Tao today to oversee the boosting of safety measures.

Separately, Koh Pha-ngan district chief Thaweesak Inphrome said he would work on suppressing vice in the area as ordered by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. Thaweesak's governing authority covers Koh Tao.

The district chief also vowed that no murders would take place during high season in December, when visitors flock to Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan for Full Moon Parties and the New Year countdown, thanks to heightened security and the suppression of vice.

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