‘I didn’t think checking the CCTV of the boats was relevant – nor was it worth checking the murder weapon’

I have been following the trial of the two young Burmese on Koh Samui and have been totally absorbed. It seems now reading the international press that few people outside Thailand believe in Thai justice in this case, thus concurring with the majority of Thais.

As predicted the murder trial has become a major farce though I cannot be totally sure that all reporting is totally accurate. The Khao Sod (Fresh News) newspaper seems to have a reasonable finger on the pulse, but even that appears scented with cynicism.

News is coming to non-Thai speaking foreign journalists, either from defence briefings, rare interpreters, and Thai journalists.

When Lt.Colonel Cherdpong Chiewpreecha  stepped into a witness box  in came a name from my past.

I had interviewed ‘Chilli’ (his nickname) while investigating the case of Colin Vard, who was robbed of seven houses on Phuket, by a mixture of bent lawyers, police, judges, money-lenders and an ex-housekeeper. (I’m not sure they would regard themselves as bent though, possibly just patriotic and fortunate).

Once in a while you come across a rare gem like ‘Chilli, although on reflection what he said off camera was a lot stronger than what he said on camera.

Chilli was based at Region 8 headquarters and trying to keep police in Chalong, Phuket, under control. Something he was unable to do as they were apparently among the band of robber brothers.
He had vowed to bring the culprits to justice – then sadly,  as often happens in these cases Chilli disappeared off the scene.

Then again Thailand’s Police spokesman Police Major General Prawut Thavornsiri vowed pretty much the same things when I interviewed him in 2011 and nothing happened.

Daire, five years ago wearing ‘Chilli’s hat

And he too was saying pretty much the same things a month or so back after Colin’s daughter Jessie went up on YouTube to shame someone into doing something – and the whole family staged a sit-in in the road outside Bangkok Police headquarters.   We are now getting close to the deadline when everything will be solved.  But words in Thailand do not necessarily convey what they mean. It’s the sentiment that’s important.

The thought that Colin Vard is going to get his money back and that lawyers, police, land officials, bank officials are going to jail is just that –  a thought.

Its the Thai version of the English expression: ‘Its the thought that counts”.

So here was Chilli in court presenting video evidence taken in Sairee Beach, Koh Tao on the night of the murders when 200 of 300 of the CCTV cameras were out of order.  And then whether he asked if she checked the CCTV of people leaving the island he replied: ‘No”.

“ Why”: ‘I did not think it was relevant.’


This year  Daire ( left ) complaining at the Ministry of Justice with Jessie (right) He no longer wants to be a cop

Now, as there is no verbatim record of the proceedings in a Thai court those may not really be a direct quotes.

It  is possible things can go the way of the old anecdote in which ‘Send reinforcements we are going to advance’ becomes ‘Send three and four pence we are going to a dance.’

But there seems to be general consensus on this.

It is of course not relevant to the police case but maybe vital to the defence.

It is a commonly held belief is that at least one of the perpetrators left the island that morning and that at least one speedboat, possibly two had left.

It is also relevant because a false story came from the island saying that people had “blockaded the pier” and that story was published in many publications abroad.

Then of course Sara McBride reported the following on Sky News: “The alleged murder weapon – a wooden garden hoe – was never extensively forensically tested.

No DNA of perpetrator found on this – but plenty of victim.

“The court was told officers had inspected it with a magnifying glass but deemed there were no viable fingerprints on it, and no DNA evidence to collect.”   Ouch again.

But of course this is not the first foreign murder in which Thai police have been accused of not examining the murder weapon.  When Paul Ayling of Thorpe Bay, Kent, was clubbed in Hua Hin the assailant left the murder weapon behind.  It was kicking around the police station for a while.  Nobody was ever charged.

(Murder weapon not examined – claimed Ayling’s wife)

Scotland Yard were in Thailand for a month at the request of David Cameron. no doubt they concur. No doubt they offered assistance with DNA.

It does not look like they told the Thai police how to get DNA off a hoe handle though – or the successful prosecutions brought in the UK based on the DNA evidence of the attackers taken from pick-axe handles.

 I think we can leave it there.  At this point a judge in the UK would be throwing out the case.
The tragedy of this whole business is that the families of Hannah and David are unlikely to get closure by this trial.

Above – Colonel Chiewpreecha featured at the end of  this short video on the Vard case

Moreover these admissions by the police are quite normal in Thai courts. We may be shocked by  western standards – but quite frankly if this case had not gathered international scrutiny it is quite possible these two young boys would be, if not dead, locked up for life already.

But we are still waiting for somebody to explain the DNA evidence which has put these Burmese in the frame. When it comes who is going to believe it. Unless a Scotland Yard officer comes along to back up the Thai evidence; nobody I suspect.

For the sake of harmony foreign embassies do not give any of their citizens an accurate picture of the Thai justice system. The best you will get I am afraid is the name of a law firm, whom, as we have shown in the case of the British Embassy, may well be not only completely bent, but its chief might also be a stark raving lunatic.


  1. This is sicken! When I think of DNA that found at the crime scene for my husband case, police didn't bother submitting as evidence for the prosecutor before making decision to throw out my husband case and prosecutor ordered case to be closed indefinitely, This is Thai justice system, how can it be when person got murdered and prosecutor decided not to find suspects whom committed the crimes? Seem polices know how to covered up the
    evidences so case can be easily misleads and prosecutor throw out the case at final stage.

  2. Only way to get justice in Thailand for murdered case is that to hired a lawyer to suit suspect. Then why bother to have law enforcement from started, if all of us wanted justice, we must have enough evidence to suite the suspects!?

  3. Often when one ventures into a restaurant in Thailand we hear "No hab (sic) have".
    Amazing just how many things in the Kingdom can be described such. "No had"

    Vegitime – No hab
    Reasonably priced steak – No hab
    Clean water out of a tap – No hab
    Honesty from Thai Officials – Solly No hab
    Justice in Thailand – No hab

  4. The Vard case is as long running as it is depressing…. I get the feeling he's once again being strung along with promises of 'doing the right thing' in the hope his campaign runs out of steam….

    1. It is not only the Vard case which is depressing, Tim. So many criminal cases which involve foreigners in Thailand make depressing reading.
      This one, involving the Burmese suspects, for example; also the case of the young lad beaten by the 2 Chinese-American punks.

      Turning away from foreigners for the moment; what has happened to the case of the Red Bull heir and his alleged drunk driving when he allegedly killed a Thai motorcycle cop?

      When will Thailand ever learn? Never, it seems.

  5. There needs to be an International campaign to free these guys NOW. And more so a closer look at International bodies doing business with Thailands corrupt Government

  6. Question is should foreigners come to Thailand at all?

    The country is not civilised, totally corrupt, and invariably attracts the wrong type. Furthermore, the current legislation is outdated, racist (xenophobic), and seemingly selective when it comes to enforcement.

    Foreigners are just cash cows, nothing more. They have no recognised footprint in Thailand. no rights, nor are they acknowledged in any form by the system.

    Knowing this. you still come .. then you must accept the risk attached by visting such a alien country. There are many other countries in the world that do accomodate foreigners, sadly Thailand is not one of them.

    1. Risk? It's foreigners flocking for prostitutes that enables TLand to behave in such an atrocious manner with no repercussions in the tourist and foreign investment markets. Thailand sells sex, and sex sells Thailand with the worst of the worst of foreign men jumping through all manner of hoops, putting up with anything to maintain access.

    2. Sex is the big one for sure…though it has been getting pricey. Don't forget the Full Moon Party market. That's what keeps the guest houses busy.

    3. What, up to $ 35 USD now ? If you are participating in the illegal brothel industry, you are part of the problem. I say, make it legal and tax it.
      The full moon parties are all about selling drugs at extreme profits and the entire southern region is full of Thais getting rich off it- even a well known, erstwhile monk.

      The nation welcomes sex and drug tourism, attracting the worst elements of tourists and sex-pats, and appears quite content with it. No amount of bellyaching or proselytizing by foreigners will change it.

    4. You seem to have a good grasp of the situation. As long as foreigners keep going to Thailand looking for sex and drugs the Thais will be happy to provide.

  7. While we all know Thailand is corrupt and a lot of very nasty people operate in its boundries but Thai people as a whole are friendly caring people. I have a lovely Thai family who cared for me in my time of need. It is usually the ones who have access to foreign criminal elements or mafia types that cause problems along with the army and police whi are akso hated by the average Thais.

  8. Here, here. I think the demographics – sexpats and corrupt Thais – the writer is talking about are a small portion of people in this country. It is sickening what is happening concerning this case, and I have covered similar cases in the past. But let us remember this is a small dark underworld, not part of our regular day-to-day lives.Rather than heap on the cynicism let us support the wronged and deconstruct the social ills.

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