Hua Hin clip leak 'caused more harm'
Police investigating the brutal assault of three British tourists in Hua Hin are searching for whoever leaked footage of the attack, and plan to charge them for dealing another blow to the country's battered tourism image.
Police are arguing that while the vicious assault -- which left the three family members with serious injuries -- would deter the victims from returning to Thailand, those who had leaked the clip had done greater damage by ensuring the case received global attention.
"We want to find the first person who leaked this clip, as all of the suspects had been identified before the footage went viral," Prachuap Khiri Khan police chief Kritsana Chaemsawang said.
"Police arrested three suspects after the incident and a warrant was issued for another suspect on April 17."
He said the CCTV footage was key evidence in the police case and should not have been released to the public.
In earlier media reports, police officers were suspected of posting the clip online in an effort to help track down the suspects.
But investigators now dismiss that and say they believe whoever posted the clip may have been wanting to "show off" the quality of the security cameras.
According to investigators, the camera is among 64 CCTV cameras installed by the Hua Hin municipality. The cameras are connected to both the municipality office and Hua Hin police station, allowing authorities to view the footage from their monitor rooms.
Members of the public are not allowed to enter these rooms, and permission must be sought before obtaining CCTV footage.
Pol Maj Gen Kritsana yesterday warned internet users against sharing the clip or forwarding it to their friends.
"That may violate the rights of the victims," he said. "They [those who share the clip] may be sued."
The three victims -- Lewis Owen, 68, his wife Rosemary Owen, 65, and their son Lewis John Owen, 43 -- are recovering well after being treated for severe head and brain injuries, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
The assault occurred after the son accidentally bumped into one of the suspects on Soi Bintabaht, a bar district.
Four men have been arrested and have confessed to carrying out the assaults in Soi Bintabaht, a Hua Hin bar hub, on April 13.
Police have charged them with physical assault causing severe injury, a charge that carries a potential jail term of between six months and 10 years.