‘Please don’t be scared to come forward’

The two Burmese migrant workers accused of murdering Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on the Thai island of Koh Tao today issued a letter through their lawyers begging for help in fighting their case.

Twenty-one-year-olds Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo made the statement after the Thai prosecutor announced he would be issuing proceedings against them this week. If the case is fast-tracked it could be over before Scotland Yard issue its own independent findings at the inquest of Hannah, from Great Yarmouth in January.

In their appeal written in Burmese they wrote:

‘We both wish to request anyone who perhaps can assist to be a witness in our case or has evidence about the crimes we are suspected of to urgently come forward and introduce yourselves to our lawyers and share your information with our defence team.  

This will really assist us in our defence and ensure justice is done for us, our family and the family of the victims. Please don’t be scared to assist us at our time of need. May you all be happy. Thank you. Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo.’

Hannah, from Great Yarmouth and David, from Jersey, were brutally murdered with blunt instruments and a hoe on the island of Koh Tao in September. Hannah was also raped and police say that the sperm DNA of both Burmese was found in Hannah.

The two men are expected to be arraigned in court this week to enter their pleas.  They will plead not guilty and claim that their confessions were obtained under torture.

When Katherine Horton, 23, was raped and murdered in Koh Samui on January 6th the alleged killers, two fisherman, were put on trial and sentenced to death within 18 days.

Many people do not believe the Thai police and hoped that Scotland Yard officers who were allowed to visit Thailand to observe might have come to different conclusions in the Koh Tao case. Thai Police however say that Scotland Yard concurs with their findings.

UPDATE: The two Burmese have been remanded for another ten days. No attempt was made by prosecutor Paiboon to begin the case today. But the time limit in which to start a prosecution expires on December 26  – Boxing Day.

Thai translation

‘เราขอให้ทุกคนที่พอจะเป็นพยานให้เราหรือมีเอกสารเกี่ยวกับคดีที่เราถูกกล่าวหา โปรดติดต่อและแสดงตัวกับทีมทนายเราเพื่อให้ข้อมูลโดยเร็ว ท่านจะช่วยเราให้เราการต่อสู้คดีและทำให้เรา ครอบครัวของเรา และ ครอบครัวของเหยื่อได้รับความเป็นธรรม อย่ากลัวที่จะช่วยเราในเวลาที่เราต้องการจริง ขอให้ทุกคนมีความสุข … ซอ ลิน เเละ เวย์ โพ’


  1. Can the DNA evidence be trusted? Hopefully some impartial analysis will come out at the inquest..

    If the DNA testing is above board it's pretty conclusive otherwise they've got the wrong guys…

  2. "Thai Police however say that Scotland Yard concurs with their findings." Maybe I'm biased (like a lot), but until Scotland Yard releases a Statement about the alleged murderer(s), Credibility in the present scenario of "justice" will always be VERY suspect, and about as airtight as a sieve..

    Signed, Crying wolf?

  3. This story got little coverage here in Canada, which is as myopic a country as any other – But when the Canadian Belanger sisters died on Koh Phi Phi it was a different matter – the CBC flew to Thailand to investigate..

    I have Thai friends in Canada ( more my wife's friends actually) – and they to a person expressed great surprise at the deaths of Hannah and David – I wasn't impressed on any level..as they talked the "country line," even across the great ocean..the only thing missing was Alligator tears..

    Being in denial only works for so long…

  4. The DNA, more specifically how it was collected, is the crux, if the court believes that it was collected in a proper fashion, then they will be convicted. I have no doubt that the DNA matches.

  5. That it is reported that the Thai police have said the British police concur with their "findings" is really neither here nor there since anything written or reported in the Thai press is utterly unreliable. Remember it was widely reported in the press, and indeed quoted by the Prime Minister here, several times, that the British ambassador had confirmed his appreciation and support of the RTP and that the British government would not seek to intervene in the case: he had in fact said no such thing and the entire quote was a fabrication planted in the Thai PBS.

    1. That's absolute;y right, George. He had said no such thing but in the light of recent events someone in the UK has been leaned on.

      If you owe money on your house mortgage you aren't in a position to argue with your mortgage lender – if you catch my drift.

  6. Anyway, I thought Thai trial judges only heard evidence one day at a time with frequent adjournments ensuring loss of continuity, uneven recording keeping of testimony, etc.,etc. which meant cases would take several years to conclude and then only pave the way to appeals. Are they to offer the Burmese boys a fast track system of justice with expedited appeals thus completing proceedings with a firm sweep under the carpet, so to speak?
    It has taken the prosecution two months to prepare their case after several requests for further evidence and whatnot, despite early claims the police had solved the case in one fell swoop in a manner that prompted the Prime Minister to profess his excitement at the news. Has this evidence been supplied to the defence and if so have they had sufficient time to prepare any rebuttal?
    Frightening system really and when we read almost daily accounts of just how corrupted the police are one can't help in questioning if there is any point in even having a trial?

    1. Well, as some cases do end up with defendants being cleared there obviously is a point to trials and if the accused in this case are cleared will your view about trials being pointless be the same, I wonder?

  7. Many years ago I had read in a book by a Spanish writer called Maranon that an innocent person accused of having commit a crime of murder was unable to smile, further he wrote that any effort to draw a smile from such an individual by telling jokes or even having a very funny clown performing was fruitless…
    I just hope these two kids will be able to regain their smiling capacity after the trial…

    Also after Garry's W. short and perfect account of how the Justice System functions (or dis-functions) there is really nothing more to say only hope that at least in these times of "reforms" and in the presence of a serious and fair Judge things could be a little different…

  8. Hi Bill, your comment seems to "generalize" the purpose of trials and the eventual outcome, the point by Garry's comment as I perceive refers to this particular case and some similar cases so well reported in this channel and in a few others where trials were not conducted as we were taught in other countries.
    In most more advanced cultures just the fact that so many higher authorities have expressed their certainty to the guilt, including the Prime Minister the chances of the accused to a fair trial and a fair defense are diminished. In the last few weeks we have all witnessed mass arrests by top people in the Police forces and the declarations by the same Prime Minister for a wide reform to eradicate corruption and malfeasance at the Royal Thai Police. Of course we all never give up hope that the next time it will be different and Justice will prevail, if that becomes the new fact I am sure we will all again believe that trials in Thailand are worth the while…

  9. The amateur sleuths over at CSI LA Facebook page, who seemed more thorough if a little inclined to conspiracy theories than the police, still seem to be sceptical….

  10. The only reason these 2 Burmese are in custody is the same reason so many others are in custody. Firstky , because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but more importantly, they couldnt pay. Comitting a crime in Thailand does not carry a prison sentence. Not being able to buy your way out of one can carry a life sentence. Thailand is corrupt to the core . Thais are taught from a very early age. Money number one. Family number 2 (the richer 2., then 1). Every parent should take note. Somones child will be next, because it wont change

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