Preliminary results today found no link between Warot Tuwichian and DNA police say was collected from the scene of two murders on Koh Tao last month.
The tests are intended to clear the name of Warot, the son of a powerful island figure who’s been singled out by online skeptics who say evidence implicating the 22-year-old was ignored in favor of pinning it on two convenient scapegoats: migrant laborers from Myanmar.
On Thursday when he gave blood to be used for a battery of tests, Warot posed for photos with national police chief Gen. Somyot Pumpanmuang and his father, village chief Woraphan Tuwichian, who owns the bar where David Miller and Hannah Witheridge got into a fight with a group of men soon before they were killed.
Woraphan has said he will consider filing defamation suits after the results don’t match his son.
Critics who’ve doubted the integrity of earlier DNA testing results are unlikely to put more faith in today’s outcome; however, they may find themselves targeted by legal action.
Gen. Somyot today instructed the Technology Crime Suppression Division to inspect the Facebook page who has been posting messages to discredit the police’s investigation process and the government. Although they didn’t name the page, Somyod said the owner has been identified and will be prosecuted.
That most likely seems to be CSILA, which has become a popular clearing house for theories about the crime and is believed to be run by a Thai-American in Los Angeles.
Somyot added those who share such messages could also be prosecuted, according to JS100.
Worat’s family and police said Wednesday the DNA test would be a precursor to prosecuting their online critics.
Although extensive DNA testing happened on the island in the days following the murder, Warot had never given a sample. Somyot said Thursday that was because Warot was not on the island at the time.
“Police initially did not interrogate or require Warot to undergo DNA testing because he offered proof he was not on Koh Tao at the time the crimes took place,” Somyot said in The Nation.
That, along with claims by police and the Tuwichian clan Warot was only singled out on social media seem strange, given police announced a manhunt for Warot more than a month ago.
Before he was replaced Oct. 2, lead investigator police Lt. Gen. Panya Mamen announced they were seeking Worat in Bangkok.
“Police are looking for the son of a former Koh Tao village headman in their pursuit of the killers of two British backpackers on the night of September 14, after learning that the man left the island the following morning,” read a Sept. 24 story in The Nation.
Warot and his family are likely incensed by repeated claims from amateur sleuths on CSILA that footage contains evidence it was filmed months earlier, while they argue he seems to match a “key person of interest” sought by police from footage on Koh Tao.
On Oct. 2 Panya was replaced by an assistant national police chief, and the next day police announced 21-year-olds Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin had confessed to the crime.
They’ve since retracted their confessions, saying they were only made under torture.