Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Thailand

Newsline: Security stepped up at Russian embassy in Bangkok after blast

Police have stepped up security at the Russian embassy in Bangkok following an explosion at the Saint Petersburg metro Monday that killed 11 people. Bang Rak police chief Pol Col Nakhon Thongphanit said he has deployed more police officers to guard the embassy around the clock. He said they normally deploy officers to guard the embassy and patrol the area, but that will be increased following the incident in Russia. He said they were working with the Black Tiger unit of the Special Branch Police Bureau and officers from the Patrol and Special Operation Division to step up security at the embassy on Sap Road, Surawong, Bangrak.


Newsline: Australian embassy site in Thailand up for sale

The site of the Australian embassy in Sathorn area, almost eight rai of land, is being offered for sale by expression of interest, according to the appointed sole agent JLL. The compound covers 12,728 square metres of freehold land on South Sathorn Road, one of Bangkok’s prime commercial and residential addresses. The closing date for offers is early June.


Newsline: Thai diplomat summoned by Foreign Office over Thailand killings response

A Thai diplomat has been summoned to the Foreign Office over concerns about the country’s investigation into the murders of two British backpackers. Foreign minister Hugo Swire took the step amid fears over Thai authorities’ handling of the deaths of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24. Mr Swire told Thai charge d’affaires Nadhavathna Krishnamra of his “real concern” after two Burmese workers were charged with the killings and paraded in front of cameras having apparently made confessions – before reportedly later withdrawing them. The men, named in reports as bar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, are accused of the brutal murders of Miss Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, and Mr Miller, from Jersey, on the paradise island of Koh Tao in September. The two suspects, both 21, were charged with three offences – conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to rape and robbery. But later reports – denied by the Thai police – suggested that a Burmese embassy official had formally retracted their confessions amid allegations the pair were tortured. Following Mr Krishnamra’s meeting with Mr Swire today, the Foreign Office said in a statement: “Mr Swire stressed that there was a real concern in the UK about how the investigation has been handled by the Thai authorities. He said that it was crucial for the investigation to be conducted in a fair and transparent way. Earlier this month, Mr Swire spoke to Thailand’s deputy prime minister Tanasak Patimapragorn about the case.


Newsline: UK and Myanmar embassies in Thailand said to “have no problems” over murder probe

The government has insisted both the British and Myanmar embassies in Thailand “have no problems” with the Thai police’s handling of the Sept 15 murders of two British tourists on Koh Tao even as police face claims the Myanmar suspects were tortured. Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said he was confident the case would not lead to any disputes between Thailand and Myanmar because he had spoken with the embassy and it did not have any problems with the investigation results. His remarks came after the police held a press conference Tuesday to insist on the accuracy of the investigation which had resulted in charges against two Myanmar men. Police and diplomatic sources said that the British ambassador or a senior embassy official would attend the press conference. Instead, the embassy was not represented. The bodies of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found on a beach of the southern island of Koh Tao in Surat Thani province on Sept 15. Police pursued the case for more than two weeks before they detained three Myanmar migrant workers, two of whom were charged over the murders while the other was treated as an eyewitness. National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang defended the arrest of the two Myanmar men for the murders even though the suspects claimed they were tortured by police while in custody. Contradicting earlier reports that Myanmar embassy officials were satisfied with explanations provided by Thai authorities over the arrest of their nationals, Htun Aye, the embassy’ s second secretary, told the Bangkok Post Tuesday it was too early to say whether his team was satisfied with all the information they were given by authorities.


Newsline: Myanmar embassy pledges to help workers accused of murder in Thailand

The embassy pledged to assist Myanmar workers who faced murder charges. Three Myanmar workers based on Koh Tao off the Surat Thani coast have accused police of torturing them to try to extract information about the murder of two British citizens last month. The three men were from a group of six Myanmar workers. The three were released by police but two colleagues were arrested and eventually charged with the murders, while the sixth man is believed to have agreed to give evidence against the two who have been charged. The three men who were released have alleged that Thai police poured hot water on them. They later met with a Myanmar labour leader who took photos of burn wounds on their bodies and sent them to the Myanmar embassy. The embassy reportedly said later that it was ready to assist their colleagues who have been charged.


Newsline: UK Embassy Warns Tourists Travelling in Thailand

The British Embassy in Bangkok issued a statement on behalf of the UK warning citizens to exercise caution while travelling in Thailand after two British tourists were murdered on Tao island in Surat Thani. Western tourists have also been victims of vicious, unprovoked attacks by gangs on Koh Phangan. These attacks are particularly common around the time of the Full Moon parties and at late night bars at Haad Rin bay on Koh Phangan.


Newsline: UK embassy seeks information after murder of two British tourists in Thailand

The UK embassy are urgently seeking information from the local authorities after two young British tourists were found dead on a bloodstained beach with what were described as “gruesome” head injuries. Consular staff stand ready to provide assistance at this tragic time. “The consul from Bangkok is travelling to Koh Tao as soon as possible,” they added. Police in Thailand have launched a murder inquiry. The bodies were discovered, partly naked, close to the location of where a beach party had been held the night before. Thai police named the two, David William Miller, 24, from Jersey, and Hannah Victoria Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, aged 23. The young woman’s throat had reportedly been cut while the man had suffered a cutting wound on the back of his head. Some of the pair’s clothes were located nearby, as was a hoe, which police believe was used in the murder. For some time after the killings, people on the island, located in Surat Thani province and which is home around 2,000 residents, had blockaded its piers to help prevent anyone escaping. The blockade was lifted after a few hours, raising the prospect that whoever carried out the attack could have fled.