Police question influential Koh Tao figure, seek second (UPDATED)

An influential figure on Koh Tao reportedly arrested earlier today in the case of last week’s murders was only questioned and released.

Earlier today, police detained the brother of a village headman on Koh Tao and said they were seeking his son for questioning in the murder the two British tourists.

Thai PBS had reported police Lt. Gen. Panya Mamen as saying there was evidence, including security camera footage, linking the suspects to the murders.

“He was arrested after evidence which police collected were examined and proved he was involved,” Thai PBS quoted Panya saying. “He said both suspects were captured by CCTV cameras and the police have gathered enough evidence to implicate them in the murders.”

Subsequent reports indicate the headman’s brother, identified by the Bangkok Post as Montriwat Toovichien, was interrogated and submitted DNA evidence before being released.

The southern police chief made assurances there was no arrest of “scapegoats” due to the international pressure brought by the deaths of two young tourists visiting on holiday, according to Thai PBS.

Furthermore, he said pressure from “local mafias” or other influential people were not an obstacle in the investigation, vowing instead to “eliminate” those elements.

Photo: File photo of Police Lt. Gen. Panya Mamen / The Phuket News

UPDATED: This story was updated to reflect that a suspect was detained, not arrested as indicated in a Thai PBS report.

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