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Picture by Joe Stump
Full Moon Party on Ko Phangan
How To Stay Safe On Thai Islands? This question has been raised after the murder of a British couple on Ko Tao. Travel writer Mel Larcombe has some answers. She writes about the bad name of Ko Phangan full moon parties, rape culture in Thailand and women who date Thai men.
"Thailand’s beach parties are fuelled by ecstasy, magic-mushroom pizzas and everything in between", notes Joe Shute for telegraph.co.uk. He notes that things can get violent, when conservative Buddhist culture and "the worst behaviour that Western hedonism has to offer" are clashing.
An insight about Ko Tao has been published by the blog
MikeE's Travels. He writes about mafia-style families (known as Chao Pho “เจ้าพ่อ” in Thai) operating in the Gulf of Thailand on islands such as Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Samui and the power structures on Ko Tao. He describes the presence of drugs on Ko Tao and how people can become violent on drugs. And he describes the habit of the police, to set up check points, "not to catch and charge foreigners for drug possession, but to use the threat of criminal sanction as leverage in order to extort cash off them". And he describes "motorbike rental extortion". Bikes that are returned with any damage, "no matter how small result in massive costs for the renter." Those who argue with a rental company "risk physical violence, and there have been multiple reports of on tripadvisor of firearms being pulled on those who argue with the rental company".
Later in 2014
The two men from Myanmar charged with murder have retracted their confessions and said, Thailand police turtured them. Their court trial is set to start in July 2015. A team formed by the Burmese government to investigate the Koh Tao case has announced that it is confident the two Burmese nationals accused of the double murder are innocent of the crime.
Rape suspects charged: Two illegal migrant workers from Myanmar have been charged with violent rape leading to death and murder in connection with the killings of two British citizens on Koh Tao, reports The Nation. The men have also been charged with illegal entry into Thailand. Acting commander of the police Institute of Forensic Medicine, Pol Lt-General Manoo Mekmok, said two semen samples found on the female murder victim matched that from Win and Saw. The men worked at AC Pub.
New twist in murder of two Brits in Koh Tao: As Thai PBS reports, Woraphan Toovichien, 49, a village headman and owner of AC Bar which is located near the murder scene, and his brother, Montriwat Toovichien, owner of In Touch resort and caretaker of AC Bar, have been interrogated by Police. DNA samples of the two brothers were collected for testing and were later proved to not match with DNA collected from the scene and the victim’s body. Both were later freed. Eigth Region Police Command commissioner Pol-Lt Panya Mamen said both men gave good cooperation and answer all questions.
One tourist murder suspect now arrested on Ko Tao, another on the run: The police have arrested a suspect in the murder of two British tourists in Koh Tao and are hunting for a second suspect who has escaped into Bangkok, reports Thai PBS. The arrested man is the brother of a former village headman on Ko Tao. The man on the run is the son of the village headman. Eigth Region Police Command commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Panya Mamen denied, that local influential people on Ko Tao could be an obstacle to the police investigation.
There are rumours, that Thailands Primeminister and military junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha is asking the regional police every day about their progress in the investigation, after his promises, to fight corruption among the police forces in Thailand, and to prevent damage from Thailand as destination of tourists.
A British backpacker, interrogated by Thailands police about the killings on Ko Tao, is a free man again: Pol Lt General Panya Mamen, commander of Police Region 8 informed media, that the British man is no longer supected and can leave Thailand. Also migrant workers from Myanmar on Ko Tao have been cleared from suspects. DNA probes taken by police did not match with any of 12 supects until now, writes The Nation.
Meanwhile, Surat Thani Governor Chatpong Chatraphuti said Koh Tao would no longer be allowed to host spin-offs of the full-moon party that has been drawing hordes of backpackers to the neighbouring Koh Pha-ngan. "We don't want any more crimes," he said.
British backpacker arrested for suspected murder of fellow Britons at Koh Tao? Surat Thani police yesterday "arrested a British tourist after he was suspected to have connection with the deaths of two fellow Britons in Koh Tao", reports Thai PBS. Police said the suspect urgently left the island on the first ferry to the mainland the day after the murder was discovered. But other sources say, that the British man has been stopped at Suvarnabhumi Airport while trying to leave Thailand and asked by police to remain in Thailand for further investigation. AFP also reported a second Briton has been asked to remain in the country. "They are not yet suspects ... but we have asked them to cooperate until the case becomes clear," deputy national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told the news agency according to Bangkok Post. Later Bangkok Post reported that the British man was detained.
Video 'mystery man' suspected in Koh Tao murders: Police are trying to identify an Asian-looking man captured on security camera footage who is now a prime suspect in the grisly murders of two British tourists on Koh Tao, reports Bangkok Post.
Ko Tao murder manhunt focusing on migrant labourers: The police search among migrant workers from Myanmar on Ko Tao, as Bangkok Post reports.
David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found killed on Monday, September 15, after they had met on Ko Tao, living in neighbouring rooms at the Ocean View Bungalows. The victims' bodies were found around 6:30am after they had gone out together.
Checkpoints have been set-up on the island's two piers, and local police called for reinforcements from Koh Pha-ngan, while high seas prevented ferries and boats from leaving, as The Nation reports.
Thailands Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered police to swiftly wrap up the case, to prevent damage to the country's reputation as a tourist destination.
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