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Police to tighten security after four French tourists attacked in Thailand

Published 29/02/2016

British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were murdered on the Thai island of Koh Tao in September 2014 (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/PA Wire)
British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were murdered on the Thai island of Koh Tao in September 2014 (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/PA Wire)

Police are to tighten security on an island in eastern Thailand after four French tourists were brutally assaulted.

The attack raises fresh concerns about tourist safety in Thailand, which hosted a record 29 million visitors last year.

Police had the five Cambodian suspects in the attack on Koh Kut re-enact the crime, a standard procedure in the Thai justice system.

Irate residents tried to attack the men but police pushed them away.

Police said they would press charges of rape and conspiracy to assault against the five, adding they have confessed involvement.

"We don't have a lot of criminal cases in Koh Kut, not even robbery," Koh Kut deputy police chief Lt. Col Suraporn Thepsen said. "The perpetrators are not local people and they just anchored their boat to avoid strong winds. We will have to tighten security in Koh Kut."

A director of the hospital where the victims were taken after the Saturday night attack said their condition has improved. The women, aged 57 and 28, are mother and daughter. The two men, one from the same family, are 30 and 29 years old.

Trat province police chief Maj Gen Nopparat Rintapon said the attackers jumped off their anchored fishing boat and swam to Koh Kut after they had been drinking.

Two of them met the French tourists and began talking to them, when the other three came running from the brush where they had been hiding and attacked them with knives and sticks, slashing one of the men badly while the other was able to escape and run to a nearby hotel for help.

About 50 police and other officials and local residents cordoned off the area, and at around 4 or 5am on Sunday managed to capture three suspects. The other two were arrested on Sunday afternoon at a border checkpoint when they tried to cross into Cambodia.

The incident is the latest attack on foreign tourists in Thailand.

In December, a Thai court sentenced two Burmese migrants to death for the murders of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, whose bodies were found on the Thai resort island of Koh Tao in September 2014.

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