Myanmar team calls for more money for Koh Tao murder suspects


The two Myanmar migrant workers Ko Win Zaw Htun (L) and Ko Zaw Lin Oo (L-2), suspects in the killing of two British tourists, are escorted by police officers as they leave Koh Samui Provincial Court in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand, October 14, 2014. Photo: Sitthipong Charoenjai/EPA

The two Myanmar migrant workers Ko Win Zaw Htun (L) and Ko Zaw Lin Oo (L-2), suspects in the killing of two British tourists, are escorted by police officers as they leave Koh Samui Provincial Court in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand, October 14, 2014. Photo: Sitthipong Charoenjai/EPA

As the Myanmar embassy’s legal team seeks to get bail for the Koh Tao murder suspects, a question has been raised over financial support pledged to help the defence.

Lawyer U Aung Myo Thant, a member of the Myanmar Embassy’s special team, told Mizzima that although the Upper House pledged K30 million [US$30,000] to the team to be spent for their activities to help the Myanmar suspects, they have received only about K17 million so far.

He said that it has been four months since the donation was made.

“We’ve received only US$17,000 which is equivalent to about 17 million kyat including 5 million kyat for the cost of health of [suspect] Win Zaw Htun’s father in Yangon. We need more money for upcoming activities,” U Aung Myo Thant said.

Myanmar migrant workers Ko Win Zaw Htun and Ko Zaw Lin Oo are charged with the murders of British tourists Ms Hannah Witheridge and Mr David Miller on the Thai resort island of Koh Tao on September 15. The two men claim they are innocent. Various human rights groups have questioned the conduct of the Thai police investigation.

On October 13, Upper House Speaker U Khin Aung Myint announced that U Khin Shwe, U Nay Win Tun and himself had donated a total of K30 million to the Myanmar Embassy’s special team in order that the money be spent for their activities to help the Myanmar suspects.

Upper House lawmaker U Nay Win Tun, one of the three donors, said they paid the K30 million through an NGO.
Rakhine National Network chairman U Tin Htoo Aung said some money had been spent by the committee set up for the case, and some remains to be transferred.

“We don’t know now how much money has been spent for the case. Only after the case ends, only after doing the accounts, we will be able to know how much money has been spent,” he said.

Separate efforts are being made, initially through crowdfunding, and an appeal to raise money to support the defence of the two suspects.

U Aung Myo Thant said the Myanmar Embassy’s special team is seeking bail for the two accused, and they have prepared the 2 million baht [K66 million] bail fee.
The police’s witnesses will be questioned in court starting from July 8 this year.

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