Ben Harrington

With young Brits failing to come home from holidays in Thailand due to their deaths there, the House of Commons will discuss the safety of British tourists in Thailand in an adjournment debate set for this Wednesday following a motion made by M.P. Hannah Bardell.



This follows a campaign and petition on Change.Org by Reigate mother Pat Harrington whose son was killed in a ‘motorcycle’ on Koh Tao and follows complaints from a range of parents who have had their offspring die in Koh Tao and in the Samui Archipelago of Thailand.

Many have been highly critical of the Royal Thai Police. The petition has gathered over 14,300 signatures and Mrs. Harrington will be presenting the petition to Prime Minister Theresa May on March 6th.

The visit must be overseen by Scotland Yard’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command so there can be no placards,  costumes etc.

At least there will be some dignity to the occasion.  But there is little dignity, apart from the usual pretence of course, back in Thailand, where the Police Chief who oversaw the murder hunt for the killers of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, has been making the headlines.

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were brutally murdered on Sairee Beach, Koh Tao. Their skulls were smashed with a hoe and Hannah was also brutally raped


Somyot, it has now been revealed, had borrowed the equivalent of some US$9million, from Kamphol Veerathepsuporn, the Chinese-Thai owner of Victoria’s Secret massage parlour (for massage parlour read brothel) at the peak of the murder hunt. This is pretty much the equivalent of borrowing money from the mafia.

Police Chief Somyot Poompanoung greeting tourist to Bangkok’s busiest sex tourist area Nana Plaza – the master lease of which is controlled by British ‘boiler room’ fraudsters,. Somyot turned a blind eye. He was too busy share dealing himself

Khampol has since fled. He stands accused of people trafficking, exploiting minors etc. Many of the women working at Victoria’s Secret had been trafficked from Burma and Laos.

Poompanmoung denied knowing what business his friend Khampol was in and if that is a lie then how much truth was he telling during the Koh Tao investigation in which he publicly cleared the Toovichien mafia family, which runs the island?

Burmese migrant workers Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin were made to wear crash helmets and bullet proof vests while police made them renact their alleged crimes. This was to protect them from angry mobs. People were angry that the tourst dollars would drop, but no anger was directed at the Burmese.

Two young Burmese Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin have since been convicted and sentenced to death and at the time Somyot Poompanmoung congratulated the Thai police and their methodical investigative work and compared Thai police to British police. ‘We read the same books,’ he said.

That raised a few titters. But the conviction of the two Burmese did not. Most people in Thailand, believe the two are innocent and they are merely the traditional scapegoats.

Because the initial Thai investigation was quite laughable and followed the usual pattern of pulling in the usual foreign (tourist) suspects and then the secondary foreign (Burmese) suspects, the then British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a team from Scotland Yard and Norwich Police to investigate.


Unfortunately, though they sent a scenes-of-crime expert they did not send a forensic DNA expert, probably (a) because these come from the Home Office (b) Scotland Yard had no powers to investigate in Thailand anyway so their scenes of crime expert could not look for DNA.

The British team were in Thailand for over a month and did not even bring their own interpreter. That was supplied by the Royal Thai Police. At this stage, outsiders could rightly view the trip as merely a political exercise, a sop to worried parents.

Subsequent admissions in the High Court by lawyers for Scotland Yard have subsequently proved this.

Even if they had the evidence critical of the Thai police, which I doubt they did, they could not have made this public knowledge.

Anya Proops

Why? According to Anya Proops (resisting an application by the defence counsel for the two young Burmese to see the Scotland Yard report) to release it the ‘Chilling Effect’ would have a ‘substantial and adverse effect on law enforcement, fulfillment of public policy and the UK’s security objectives’.

That would mean of course ‘a breakdown in co-operation between the law enforcement authorities of Thailand and the United Kingdom.’

‘Public interest, must trump private interest,’ argued Ms Proops – even though, as she admitted, the private interest was the lives of the two Burmese.

Justice Green ruled in favour of Scotland Yard, but with ‘considerable unease’.

He said, and it’s worth repeating:

“I cannot ignore the fact that this is a death penalty case conducted with the accused arguing with their eyes closed.’

And then he posed a theoretical case.

“A foreign prosecutor fails to disclose to a defendant a key piece of evidence of great value to the defendant in a criminal case. This item is however recorded in an MPS report and amounts to personal data.

The report explains that there is compelling evidence that the foreign forensic scientists employed by the police abroad have mixed up DNA samples. It also records that the prosecution are nonetheless seeking to rely in court upon the wrong DNA evidence to inculpate the accused.

This entry might be pivotal to the defence and might quite literally represent a matter of life or death. In those circumstances does the Court sacrifice the accused for the wider principle of comity and trust between authorities? Ms. Proops for the MPS submitted that such was the power and force of the public interest objectives the MPS advanced that even in such extreme circumstances the public interest would still trump the private interest.

“Does the court sacrifice the accused for the wider principle of comity and trust between authorities?

“I feel considerable unease. I sit a long way from the seat of the trial and do not have a true hands-on feeling for the way evidence has been tendered by the prosecution or the main lines of defence.”

Justice Green’s hypothetical case turned out to be chillingly real. During the trial of the two Burmese it was revealed that the DNA on the hoes did not belong to the victims, but other males; there was loss of original DNA samples, other DNA samples found buy not investigated, a failure by police to check CCTV on people leaving the island, torture of the suspects and other Burmese.

Thai junta Prayuth Chan-ocha ridiculed in a Stephf cartoon.He suggested beautiful women in bikinis were more likely to be raped than ugly ones. Not the message the Thai government should be sending.

The list just went on and on with the final revelation that not even the police lab was up to certified standards. Foreign DNA experts asked to comment on the evidence were dumbfounded.

It turns out that Scotland Yard need not have worried too much about their relationship with the Thai Police and Somyot, whose net worth is currently about US$11 million.

In a recent television interview he described his police work as a side-line. His real work was playing the stock-market. He’s now big in the football world and |President of the Football Association of Thailand.


Somyot second from the left with FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (led like as baby?)

The last President Worawi Makudi had according to Lord Triesman in Parliament demanded the TV rights to a friendly between England and the Thai national team in return for voting for England to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

In October 2016 Makudi was banned by the FIFA Ethics Committee for five years and fined 10,000 Swiss Francs for forgery and falsification.

Kingpower is currently charged in Thailand with a £327million fraud, defrauding the Thai government by bribing tax officials and evading tax on its duty-free outlets.

Have FIFA scored another own goal? You can’t make it up.

I also signed Pat Harrington’s petition. Not because I know the circumstances of her son’s death, but having covered all the high profile British deaths in Thailand between 1990 and 2015, I would like to see wider discussion of the issue. Certainly, a lot of lies have been told from the Thai police side.

I do not subscribe to the views of a ‘Death Island’ campaign initiated by the Suzanne Buchanan of the Samui Times and continued by Australian lawyer Ian Yarwood relating to a number of deaths in Koh Tao which, without any evidence, they have irresponsibly indicated were murders. Many of the allegations I know to be without substance.

On the case of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller I have no knowledge or proof of the innocence or guilt of the two young Burmese. I do however subscribe to the view that these two men would not have been convicted in a western court due to the behaviour of police and presentation of evidence.