Koh Tao murders: Burmese rape suspects not scapegoats, says police chief

Koh Tao murders: Burmese rape suspects not scapegoats, says police chief
Handcuffed suspects Win, centre left, and Saw, centre right, are accompanied by police to the beach on Koh Tao where two British tourists were killed, for re-enactment of the crime. More than 200 policemen were on hand to provide security.

Tip-off from Myanmar workers on Koh Tao played key role in arrests over the killings of Britons; police say DNA evidence will prove they are not scapegoats.

Two illegal migrant workers from Myanmar have been charged with violent rape leading to death and murder in connection with the killings of two British citizens on Koh Tao, off Surat Thani, after police said their DNA samples matched that found on the female victim's body.

Win and Saw, both 21, underwent a re-enactment yesterday watched by a large number of onlookers, who were kept away from the scene by a 200-strong police force deployed to prevent a large number of angry residents from attacking the two suspects.

Maw, 23, whose DNA matched that found on a cigarette butt had not been charged as of yesterday.

The three men have also been charged with illegal entry, after they were found to have entered Thailand and resided illegally. Win and Saw are in the custody of the Koh Samui court, while there is no information on where Maw has been detained.

Acting commander of the police Institute of Forensic Medicine, Pol Lt-General Manoo Mekmok, said two semen samples found on the female murder victim matched that from Win and Saw, and the one found on the cigarette at the scene of the crime matched that of Maw.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha praised the police for the breakthrough in the much-publicised case, saying he would soon reward them. He said both men could not be scapegoats, as their DNA matched the samples found on the victim's body.

Citing from the "confessions" of the two suspects, police said they entered Thailand about two weeks before the double murders, at dawn on September 15, and worked at AC Pub as general workers. The men said they hardly left the pub, as they had limited knowledge of the Thai language.

Another police source said the three men had been monitored secretly after police detected signs of suspicious behaviour after interviewing staff at AC Pub and all shops and restaurants. One of the men, who police did name, had dyed his hair from gold to black after the crime took place.

The two told police that they had raped the woman and killed her, before stealing her mobile phone and other belongings, and destroyed the unit at the back of their living quarters.

They said they had continued to work at the pub, as police had prevented all workers from leaving. Win managed to leave the tourist island on a night boat trip a few days ago but he was arrested when he reached Surat Thani.

A police source said that both Win and Saw were smuggled into Thailand via Ranong province by an agent who charged them Bt5,000 each. He said fellow Myanmar workers had also noticed suspicious behaviour from the two after the murders, and secretly tipped off a Myanmar worker chief, who later told the police, which led to their arrests, the source added.

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