Koh Tao case Thai only, Somyot insists

Koh Tao case Thai only, Somyot insists

National police chief Somyot Pumpunmuang is adamant that British officials monitoring the Koh Tao murder investigation will not be able to interfere with the Thai judicial process.

"Allowing the UK team to conduct an investigation is tantamount to a breach of our sovereignty," Pol Gen Somyot.

His comments follow a campaign in the United Kingdom to have the government there initiate an independent investigation into the murders of British tourists, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.

Thai police efforts have been roundly criticised in Britain.

However, British or Myanmar officials may offer suggestions or observe progress in the murder case, he said.

He said he had earlier asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide explanations to the British and Myanmar embassies in Bangkok about the Thai judicial process.

Wittaya Suriyawong, director-general of the Department of Corrections, said the parents of the suspects, Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, can visit their sons Monday to Friday as per department regulations. Each visit can last 30 minutes.

The department is also cooperating with the Myanmar embassy in assisting the parents of the suspects as they will be travelling from a foreign country, he added.

The director said the suspects have been registered in criminal identification records and their parents can check their sons' physical condition from photos taken from police files.

Mizzima Myanmar news agency yesterday reported that the parents of the suspects, who are from Rakhine state, were waiting to be issued Thai visas.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in his weekly speech yesterday instructed relevant agencies to improve safety measures for tourists. These include boosting transport safety and installing more CCTV cameras in tourist spots.

Gen Prayut also said the government has set up a 200-million-baht fund which will be used to attract Western tourists who are unable to buy travel insurance when visiting Thailand.

Because of martial law, Western insurance firms refuse to cover tourists visiting the country.

Meanwhile, an online petition launched on Oct 4 on change.org, to urge the UK government to independently investigate the Koh Tao murders, passed the 100,000 signature mark yesterday. British law stipulates that an e-petition with at least 100,000 signatures can be debated in the House of Commons.

Protesters were expected to hand the petition to the prime minister's office at 10 Downing Street yesterday.

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