Prosecutors set to arraign Myanmar men for Koh Tao killings

Prosecutors set to arraign Myanmar men for Koh Tao killings
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.

Public prosecutors are preparing to arraign two Myanmar suspects today on charges related to the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao in Sept.

"Evidence presented by investigators is solid," Tawatchai Seangchaew said yesterday in his capacity as head of the Office of State Attorney Region 8.

He said police had backed their investigation report with witness statements, circumstantial evidence and forensic evidence.

Tawatchai said speculation on social media about the suspects being scapegoats may have stemmed from the fact people did not have access to complete information and full sets of evidence.

"Under the law, some items of evidence can't be disclosed publicly," he said.

Koh Tao, a usually idyllic island near Samui and Pha-ngan, was the scene of brutal crimes in mid-Sept. The killings of Britons David Miller and Hannah Witheridge made headlines both locally and internationally.

A few weeks later, Thai police arrested two Myanmar suspects and charged them with the murders. But Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun later |complained that they were forced into confessing to the crimes they had not committed.

Their parents have been seeking help from various organisations, including the Myanmar embassy, as they are adamant that their sons are innocent.

In the face of public suspicion that the pair may be scapegoats, Thai police arranged a DNA test for the son of an influential local before the media. Test results cleared the young man named on social media as the real suspect.

Tawatchai said yesterday parents of the victims would be notified of the latest move by Thai officials. "They can become co-plaintiffs if they want," he said.

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