3 Myanmar workers say police tortured them for info over murders of 2 Britons on Koh Tao

Two workers from Myanmar (wearing helmets and handcuffs), suspected of killing two British tourists on the island of Koh Tao last month, stand near Thai police officers during a re-enactment of the alleged crime, where the bodies of the tourists were
Two workers from Myanmar (wearing helmets and handcuffs), suspected of killing two British tourists on the island of Koh Tao last month, stand near Thai police officers during a re-enactment of the alleged crime, where the bodies of the tourists were found on the island on Oct 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KOH TAO ISLAND (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Three Myanmar workers based on Koh Tao island off Thailand's Surat Thani coast have accused the police of torturing them to try to extract information about the murder of two British citizens last month, a source said on Monday.

The three men were from a group of six Myanmar workers. The three were released by the 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 the Thai police poured hot water on them. They later met 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.

The source also quoted the three who were released as citing a policeman's words while they were detained that "this issue will snowball if the Myanmar Embassy has intervened into the detention and (alleged) torture".

Meanwhile, an unnamed Myanmar worker said most migrant workers wanted to stay working on Koh Tao despite their "dread" of the Thai police, as they were sure of their innocence based on verification of DNA collected from the female victim's body would certainly not match theirs.

"But when they are unable to catch the real culprits, the Thai police turned to target Myanmar workers," the source said.

An unnamed business owner also commented that the arrest of the three men, one of whom was excused and spared for coming court testimony against the first two, was "suspiciously hurried", possibly to benefit themselves in connection with the annual Royal Thai Police reshuffle, or to please the junta government.