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New Koh Tao suspect tests negative

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2014 at 11:36 AM
The first result of tests on DNA taken from the son of an influential local leader on Koh Tao have shown no match with DNA found at the scene of the murder of two British tourists in September. The Institute of Forensic Science at the Police General Hospital reported on Friday that tests of a DNA sample taken from Warot Tuwichian did not match the DNA in semen retrieved from the body of British tourist Hannah Witheridge, who was raped and murdered on a Koh Tao beach, and items found at the crime scene. The 22-year-old university student was accused in the social media of possible involvement in the murders of Witheridge and her companion, fellow tourist David Miller, in the early morning of Sept 15 at Hat Sairee. In response to the internet accusations, Mr Warot reported to police headquarters on Thursday for DNA tests to prove his innocence. He was accompanied by father, Hat Sairee village chief Woraphan Tuwichian who owns AC Bar where the two murdered tourists had a quarrel with some men before being killed later that night. Police are now waiting on results of tests on samples taken by Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Siriraj Hospital and Ramathibodee Hospital. The four hospitals took blood samples and mouth swabs from him on Thursday. Police spokesman Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri said all the test results will be made public no later than Saturday. Police were still waiting for the other three hospitals to submit their findings. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Russians in Phuket steal wodka

Posted by hasekamp on 29 October 2014 at 9:48 AM
Three Russians are sitting in Phuket Provincial Prison after a second attempt at stealing booze from a Patong convenience store this month. Evgeny Balashov, 31; Nikolay Chuvilyaev, 30; and Vadim Afanasev, 31, were caught on CCTV stealing five bottles of liquor on October 1. However, it wasn't until they returned on October 23 and attempted to steal a bottle of vodka and two bottles of tequila that they were apprehended by police. The manager of the Family Mart convenience store on Thaweewong Road noticed the frequency at which the three Russian men were coming and going and suspected that they might be robbing the store, Lt Col Sutthichai Tianpho of the Patong Police explained to the Phuket Gazette. After reviewing CCTV footage, it became clear that the men had stolen five bottles of booze. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Use more bikes!

Posted by hasekamp on 29 October 2014 at 9:41 AM
Bangkok Council Wednesday resolved to ask Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra to launch campaigns to encourage more city residents to use bikes. During a debate, the councillors urged the governor to build more bike lanes and make a Bangkok agenda to have city residents ride more often. (Source: The Nation)


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Part of Phuket flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2014 at 15:15 PM
Flash floods swamped a 200-meter-stretch of southbound lanes on Thepkrasattri Road in Phuket this afternoon. "The flooding started at about 3pm after heavy rain in the area," a Kusoldharm Foundation rescue worker told the Phuket Gazette. "Police had to make the northbound lanes available for motorists heading in both directions in order to keep traffic flowing." The affected area is near the Muang Thalang School, where conditions are slowly improving, said the rescue worker. "The flooding is easing up, but please drive carefully and be prepared for traffic," he said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Charm offensive over prawns

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2014 at 10:31 AM
Thailand has gone on a charm offensive to defend its prawn industry, hoping to convince Europeans that it is responding to allegations of slavery and torture in its fisheries sector. The fishing industry, which accounts for 40% of food-product exports, has been badly damaged by accounts illegal immigrants being abused and held captive, forced into unpaid labour, sometimes on boats at sea for years without receiving any payment for their work. Thailand pulled out the stops for the SIAL international food fair outside Paris this past week, sending a delegation replete with officials from the labour and fisheries ministries, plus police and anti-human trafficking experts as well as industry leaders. They then travelled on to Brussels to lobby EU officials. "We don't deny there is a problem," said Foreign Ministry official Sarun Charoensuwan at a special seminar on the subject. "A lot of concrete measures are on their way." According to a June article by the British daily The Guardian, there is a lot to be done by Thailand's prawn industry, the world's largest, which sends about a quarter of its exports to the United States where they are known as shrimp, and 15% to Europe. (Source: The Bangkok Post) For your information: There also is a large environmental problem with this industry.


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End of limited service

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2014 at 10:41 AM
You will have noticed that this service was limited during the past four weeks or so. This was due to my vacation in Thailand. One does not always find time for normal duties during a vacation. From now on the serviceis back to normal with an avarage of 1 to 2 messages per day.Webmaster.


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Murder suspects meet parents

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2014 at 10:33 AM
The two Myanmar workers, charged with killing two Britons on Koh Tao last month, met their parents and relatives in a two-hour visit yesterday at the prison on Koh Samui. The parents reportedly insisted that their sons were not killers, saying they had been forced to confess after being beaten by police. The parents also quoted their sons as saying police had threatened to intimidate or assault Rakhine people on the island unless they confessed. This assertion appears to contradict the suspects' earlier claims made to a lawyer from the Lawyers' Council of Thailand, in which they said they had been beaten by an interpreter while being interrogated by police. The parents were reported to have said they would take their sons home, if they are acquitted. They were also quoted as telling the suspects that "they had been made scapegoats, sacrificed to cover the mistakes of Thai police". After the visit, the parents said they would lodge a petition with the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), but they did not specify the issues. Senior public prosecutor Theerawut Phrammanan said the petition would be forwarded to the OAG at the soonest. The relatives were accompanied to the prison by officials from the Myanmar Embassy, the Justice Ministry, the suspects' lawyers and officials from National Human Rights Commission. Their arrival in Thailand has been widely covered by foreign and local media. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said he "did not know what to do" with the speculation and scepticism on social media, saying he would leave the sceptics to believe in what they please. (Source: The Nation)


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British woman dies after beauty treatment

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2014 at 10:29 AM
A 24-year-old British woman died at a beauty treatment clinic on Soi Lardprao 41/1 at 11 pm Thursday after she received anaesthetic. Clinic officials said it was her second treatment there. The clinic has been operating for over ten years and it is owned by Doctor Somphop Saensiri. The British Embassy has been informed of the death. (Source: The Nation)


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Dog meat factory

Posted by hasekamp on 19 October 2014 at 4:46 AM
Police, troops, livestock officials and Interior Ministry officials raided a house in Sakhon Nakhon'' Muang district early Friday and found an illegal dog meat factory. The House owner, Somboon Thongkroob, was arrested on charge of illegally trading dog meat. Police found 84 bodies of dogs and 95 dog skins as well as 1,170 kilogrammes of dog meat. The man claimed he bought dead dogs for butchering. (Source: The Nation)


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British assistance after all

Posted by hasekamp on 19 October 2014 at 4:43 AM
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has agreed to allow British police to help with the investigation into the murder of two young Britons on the holiday island of Koh Tao, diplomatic sources said Friday. The head of the junta dropped his objections to a visit by British detectives following a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron on the margins of the ASEM summit of European and Asian leaders in Milan. "What the prime minister secured this morning was agreement from the Thai prime minister that we can send some British police investigators to Koh Tao to work with the Royal Thai Police on this," a British diplomatic source said. Myanmar migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were charged with the murder of David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, afte the tourists' battered bodies were found on Koh Tao on September 15. Thai police have said the two suspects confessed to the crime and their DNA matched samples taken from Witheridge's body, but there have been accusations that the men were tortured -- something Thailand strongly denies. "There are two areas we are particularly concerned about," said the diplomatic source. "One is the verification of the DNA samples of the suspects, making sure there is further independent verification. And the second is the investigation into allegations of mistreatment of the suspects." (Source: The Nation)


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Europe not happy with Prayuth

Posted by hasekamp on 16 October 2014 at 10:28 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha arrived in Italy early Thursday (Thailand time), facing imminent twin protests: In Milan against the coup and in London over the Koh Tao murder investigation. He warned foreigners not to meddle in the investigation or proceedings of the Koh Tao killings and put heavy restrictions on "cooperation" promised by police during a tense three-hour meeting on Tuesday with the ambassadors of Britain and Myanmar. Teams of officials from the two countries will be allowed only to observe progress in the murder case, not interfere with the Thai investigation process, the prime minister said just before leaving for Milan and the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) summit. "They will have to respect our processes," he said. National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang earlier met British ambassador Mark Kent and Myanmar ambassador Win Maung. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tourism sector concerned about martial law

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2014 at 4:41 AM
The tourism sector is reiterating its call for the government to lift martial law in the face of losses due to the continued drop in tourist arrivals. Key tourism groups - Thai Travel Agents Association (ATTA) and Thai Hotels Association (THA) - voiced their concern over the decline in arrivals despite the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s many campaigns to woo visitors in the wake of the coup. ATTA has strongly advised the government to lift martial law, while THA is calling for measures to boost confidence in terms of safety and protect tourists from scams. Between January and September, international arrivals at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport stood at 9.1 million, down from 11.3 million in the same period last year, according to the Immigration Police Bureau. This shows a 19-per-cent decline. (Source: The Nation)


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Koh Toa full of police missers. UK concerned

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2014 at 4:36 AM
Three 'witnesses' to testify in Koh Tao case. Lawyers from the Lawyers Council of Thailand will accompany three potential witnesses from Myanmar as they testify in the Koh Tao murder case in a court in Samui Tuesday, human rights advocate Surapong Kongchantuk said. It is unclear whether the two accused Myanmar workers, Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, will appear at the hearing. If they are, <strong>it would be the first time they are represented by lawyers</strong> during official questioning. Media in London reported the British government on Monday summoned Thailand's top diplomatic representative to lay out its "real concern" about the murder investigation. Win and Zaw are charged with the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, who were found dead on Koh Tao's Sai Ree beach in the early hours of Sept 15. Britain is 'concerned' and summons Thai charge d'affaires to explain. In addition to Maung Maung, a roommate of the suspects who says he did not see the killings, two other Myanmar nationals, Ren Ren and Nee Ong, have been called to give depositions Tuesday, said Mr Surapong, who is chairman of the Lawyers Council of Thailand's human rights subcommittee on ethnic minorities. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King well after operation

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2014 at 3:51 AM
His Majesty the King is conscious and breathing easily after undergoing an operation, said the third statement, issued by the Royal Household Bureau last night. His heartbeat is nearly back to normal rate, but he still gets fever periodically. He reported pain from a wound near his gall bladder, where a laparoscopy was performed. The King has been receiving medications, saline and liquid food intravenously. (Source: The Nation)


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Siriraj claims to have Ebola vaccine

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2014 at 15:42 PM
Siriraj Hospital set off shockwaves of hope and scepticism Monday with its terse announcement that researchers there had developed a breakthrough treatment for the Ebola virus. In a brief announcement of a Thursday press conference, the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital at Mahidol University said doctors would detail what it described as "the successful production of an antibody treatment against Ebola for the first time in Thailand." Volunteer Ruth Atkins had blood taken before receiving an injection of the Ebola vaccine at the Oxford Vaccine Group Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine in Oxford, southern England Sept 17. Siriraj Hospital plans to announce it has developed a breakthrough antibody treatment for the disease at a Thursday press conference. Thai media broke the news in bombastic fashion, with one early report from a government-run website proclaiming it a "cure" for the disease that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa this year. Other reports claimed it was a preventative vaccine. It also could mean the hospital's development of antibodies will lead to a treatment applied after infection to stimulate the body's natural immune system to fight off infection. With hospital officials remaining mum, no one yet knows exactly what Siriraj actually has. Dr Pattarachai Kiratisin, head of the faculty's microbiology department and one of four speakers set to appear Thursday, declined to elaborate on the findings and asked the press to wait until the conference. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Koh Tao report ready

Posted by hasekamp on 6 October 2014 at 4:58 AM
Police plan to forward their investigation report on the killing of two British tourists on Koh Tao to public prosecutors this Wednesday. "We will include DNA test results related to the suspects in our report for the prosecution," Koh Pha-Ngan Police Station's superintendent Colonel Prachum Ruangthong said yesterday. His police station has jurisdiction over not just Koh Pha-Ngan but also Koh Tao, where the lifeless bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on the morning of September 15. Semen of two men was found inside the female victim's body, it has been alleged . Prachum said the DNA test results had nailed down two Myanmar workers on the tourist island, dismissing rumours the two-recently-arrested suspects were scapegoats. "There is solid evidence against them. They are not scapegoats," Surat Thani police chief Maj General Apichart Boonsriroj said police had thoroughly investigated this high-profile case. (Source: The Nation)


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Condition His Majesty improves after fever

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2014 at 12:13 PM
His Majesty the King's fever has subsided after he was admitted to Siriraj Hospital Friday with high fever, the Royal House Hold announced in the first statement Saturday. The statement said His Majesty got a high fever of 38.2 Celsius degree Friday evening and doctors diagnosed him with blood infection and his blood pressure had changed, resulting in faster heartbeat. As a result, the team of doctors asked His Majesty to travel from the Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin to Siriraj Hospital to receive treatment with special medical equipment and for further blood checking. The bureau said the doctors had given intravenous medicine to His Majesty and found on Saturday morning that His Majesty had stable blood pressure and the fever had subsided while he had better nutrition conditions. The statement said doctors had performed further examination with special equipment to try to determine the cause of blood infection for further treatment. (Source: The Nation)


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Siriraj claims to have Ebola antibody

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2014 at 4:36 AM
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will carry out tests on the Ebola antibody that researchers at Siriraj Hospital claim to have discovered in a fresh bid to develop a treatment for the deadly viral disease. Udom Kachinthorn, dean of Siriraj Hospital's faculty of medical science, announced the planned tests yesterday after he received a letter from WHO's Ebola research project leader Martin Friede. The Siriraj research team claims to have found an antibody which is able to enter infected cells in the human body. The antibody treatment can stimulate the body's immune system to fight off infection, though it is not considered a vaccine, according to doctors. Dr Udom said Dr Friede asked to take the antibody for lab tests at a Biosafety Level 4 facility in the United States. If the results are positive, the WHO plans to develop it into an actual treatment. The research team, led by Wanpen Chaicumpa, is preparing documents and samples of the antibody for the tests, which will be attended by several Siriraj researchers. The group is expected to go to the US in the next two to three weeks. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Even a confession?

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2014 at 4:41 AM
Myanmar waiters at island restaurant, plus pub worker held for killing Britons A migrant worker has confessed to the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao in Surat Thani province, deputy national police chief General Jakthip Chaijinda said yesterday. He is among three Myanmar men detained for allegedly being involved in the killings on September 15. The three men were identified as Win and Saw, both 21, who worked as waiters at a restaurant on the island, and Maw, 23, who works at a pub there. Jakthip said Win admitted to killing both victims after becoming aroused upon seeing them making love on the beach. Police said Maw and Saw were apprehended on the island, and Win was arrested at a location in Surat Thani. No dates for the arrests were provided. A police source said the unnamed pub where Maw worked was owned by the relatives of a local politician. The source said national police chief General Somyot Poompan-moung had been informed of the arrests and had arrived in Surat Thani by helicopter at about 6.30pm yesterday evening. He apparently questioned the three suspects himself last night at the Police Region 8 Command in the southern province's Punpin district. He is scheduled to issue a statement today at a police press conference. As of last night, it was unknown if the men had been charged. (Source: The Nation)


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Breakthrough in Koh Tao murdes?

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2014 at 4:37 AM
A police source has confirmed that DNA sample from two of three detained Myanmar workers matched with DNA extracted from semen found on a British tourist who was killed along with her compatriot on Koh Tao on September 15. The source said the DNA results will be used to obtain arrest warrants to make formal arrests of the two suspects. Police Commissioner General Pol Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang will hold a press conference to announce the arrests of the two on Koh Tao at 10 am Friday. (Source: The Nation)


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Media, forensics leave Koh Tao

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2014 at 4:37 AM
FORENSIC POLICE yesterday pulled out of Koh Tao after completing their task collecting DNA samples from a large number of men, both Thai and migrant workers, in their hunt for the killers of two British citizens. Their last task prior to leaving the island was teaching local police and non-forensic officers in the area how to improve crime scene inspections, including preserving crime scenes and correctly collecting DNA samples. Officers from the Crime Scene Investigation unit remain to try to solve the crime with local police. A large number of foreign and Thai journalists have also left Koh Tao, as there has been little progress in the case. A police command post on the island remains, but has not seen much activity. Foreign tourists still arrive in smaller numbers, reportedly not because of the gruesome killings but because it is the low season. Koh Tao is regarded as a good diving site.


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PM on the move

Posted by hasekamp on 1 October 2014 at 4:32 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will make his first overseas trip next week to Myanmar for the Asean chairmanship, government spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalap said yesterday. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn greets US Secretary of State John Kerry at an Asean-US ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Gen Prayut accepted the Myanmar government's invitation to visit the country on Oct 9-10 and the prime minister will use the opportunity to introduce himself and exchange views on bilateral issues, Dr Yongyuth said. The premier also decided to attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Milan, Italy from Oct 16-17. Leaders from 51 Asian and European member states will attend. Gen Prayut will explain Thai political developments at the meeting. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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