A lawyer for two Myanmar nationals indicted over the murder of two British tourists on a Thai holiday island said he was confident of persuading scared witnesses to testify and exonerate the accused.
A trial date was today set for July 8 next year by a court on Koh Samui, the neighboring island to Koh Tao, where the bodies of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found on a beach in September.
Police arrested Myanmar workers Zaw Lin and Win Phyo, both 21, in October, saying their DNA samples matched those found on the victims.
A committee of investigators set up by Myanmar's embassy in Bangkok last week said potential witnesses able to prove the suspects were innocent were too scared to appear in court for fear of retribution by Thai police or their former employers.
Thailand's military government pressed police to solve the case quickly. Zaw Lin and Win Phyo, who were migrant workers, initially confessed but later retracted their statements, saying they were given under duress.
The Foreign Office said it expected the trial of two Burmese men accused of murdering British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller in Thailand to be "fair and transparent".
We continue to monitor the case closely and expect the trial to be conducted in a fair and transparent way in line with international standards. The British government cannot interfere with Thailand's judicial processes just as other government's are unable to interfere in UK judicial processes.
We continue to provide support and assistance to both the families of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.
The trial of two men charged with the murder of two British tourists in Thailand has begun, it has been reported.
Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, both 21, deny killing 24-year-old David Miller, from Jersey, and 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
The Britons' bodies were found on September 15 on a Koh Tao beach.
The trial of the two migrant workers from Burma had been scheduled to begin in February, but it has been brought forward unexpectedly, the BBC reported.
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British police who travelled to Thailand to review the investigation into the murders of backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller are due to return to the UK, having completed their work "as far as possible".
Metropolitan Police officers flew out to the Thai island of Koh Tao last month to work with the Royal Thai Police after an agreement between David Cameron and military ruler General Prayuth Chan-ocha.
It followed international concern about the way the case has been handled by the Thai authorities.
Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, and 23-year-old Ms Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, were found dead on a beach in September.
Scotland Yard said the British officers will compile a report from their review.
The death of a British woman in Thailand highlights the dangers of 'cheap surgery' abroad, one of the UK's leading plastic surgeons has said.
Michael Cadier, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: "This tragic case highlights how, if lured by the prospect of what is essentially 'cheap surgery', patients can be left vulnerable."
"In some cases, patients are even being treated by a person without proper surgical credentials - if any at all - which breaches all the fundamental guidelines for safe practice in cosmetic surgery in the UK," he added.
"When you go abroad in search of 'cheap cosmetic surgery', you're entrusting your life to individuals whose main concern may be their pocket - not the patient."
People have been warned to properly research clinics in Thailand before having treatment following the death of a British woman.
The 24-year-old stopped breathing during cosmetic surgery and later died, despite efforts to revive her.
Police said they believed similar incidents "happened often", and reiterated their belief that the surgeon did not have the appropriate qualification.
" We would like to warn people that they should examine [a clinic first]," Bangkok police chief Ittipol Piriyapinyo said.
"Like this case, this doctor did not have a specific license. We will have to look into the case again whether the act was intentional.”
A British woman has died at a clinic in Thailand after undergoing cosmetic surgery.
The 24-year-old stopped breathing after being given anesthetic during the operation.
A doctor has been arrested amid claims he was not qualified to carry out cosmetic surgery, a Thai health official said.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told ITV News: "We were informed of the death of a British national in Thailand on 23 October.
"We stand ready to provide assistance."
Three British officers are in Thailand to begin a week's examination of the local police investigation into the murders of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, the Foreign Office has said.
The trio - a Metropolitan DCI from the homicide and major crime unit, a Metropolitan forensic ops coordinator and an experienced homicide detective from Norfolk Police - arrived in Bangkok yesterday and will travel to the island of Koh Tao in the coming days.
The FCO officers' remit is to meet their Thai counterparts and gain a better understanding of the probe into the backpacker murders following claims the two Burmese bar workers accused of the killings have withdrawn their confessions.
A spokesperson said the British team, whose passage to Thailand was brokered by Prime Minister David Cameron after the country's military ruler dropped his objections, may offer additional assistance if is requested by the Thai authorities.
Two Burmese bar workers accused of killing British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller have withdrawn their confessions, according to their lawyers.
Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21, admitted the murders on the Thai island of Koh Tao last month.
But Thailand's National Human Rights Commission said it had found evidence the men had been beaten by police.
Campaigners claim Thai police often blame crimes on Burmese migrant workers and that their investigations cannot be trusted.
UK police have since travelled to the island to probe the circumstances of the deaths further.
Concerns have also been raised in Britain that the two men are innocent "scapegoats".
A petition signed by more than 100,000 people has been handed into Downing Street demanding a new independent investigation into the deaths.