BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s police chief defended on Tuesday the arrest of two Myanmar men for the murder of two British tourists amid concern the pair may have admitted to the murders under duress.
The bodies of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found on a beach on the southern island of Koh Tao, a normally tranquil spot famous for its coral reefs and diving, last month.
Miller died from drowning and blows to the head, while Witheridge died from severe head wounds, examinations by Thailand’s forensics department found.
The killings have dented Thailand’s image as a happy-go-lucky holiday paradise and come after the tourism industry, which contributes almost 10 percent of gross domestic product, was already battered by months of political protest, a May 22 coup and military rule.
Police were widely accused of bungling the investigation and pressure grew for them to solve it quickly.
Last week, police said two Myanmar workers had admitted to killing the tourists and that DNA found on Witheridge matched samples taken from the two men.
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