Burmese Migrant Among Suspects in Koh Tao Murders

By Saw Yan Naing 22 September 2014

CHIANG MAI, Thailand – The investigation into the murder of two British tourists on the southern Thai island of Koh Tao now centers on two key suspects, a Burmese migrant worker and a Thai national, according to Thai police working on the case.

A police source told the Bangkok Post on Monday that investigators had obtained new clues about a Thai man and a Burmese migrant worker suspected of killing the two young tourists Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24.

Htoo Chit, executive director of the Thailand-based Foundation for Education and Development, an organization that works with migrant workers, told The Irrawaddy, “We heard that a Burmese migrant worker has become a new suspect. He has not been arrested yet. Only a DNA sample has been linked to him. Thai authorities are focusing on migrant workers and Thai residents there [on Koh Tao] as the latest DNA samples show that the killers are Asian.”

Htoo Chit said that his organization was in contact with the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok in order to help Burmese migrants working on Koh Tao.

“They [Thai police] question everyone they suspect now. We heard they even beat a Burmese migrant worker called “Lin” in an interrogation. So, we plan to send a Burmese team with Thai lawyers tomorrow to assess the situation there and offer help to the migrants if needed,” said Htoo Chit.

Police are stepping up their investigation, conducting DNA samples of all residents on the island, including migrant workers and tourists. Investigators had already taken DNA samples from six Burmese migrant workers last week, but none of their samples matched DNA found at the scene of the murders.

According to the Bangkok Post report, over 50 marine police officers were sent to Koh Tao to inspect fishing boats and ferries operating near the island and check the records of migrants working as part of fishing crews.

The bodies of the two British tourists were found on a beach in Koh Tao last Monday.