3 Thai men sentenced to die for killing British man and wife

In this file photo, officers stand by the area where the bodies of a murdered Briton and his Thai wife were found, in Phrae province, Thailand. (AP)
Updated 31 May 2019
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3 Thai men sentenced to die for killing British man and wife

  • The Phrae Provincial Court found Nhot’s older brother, Warut Rattanasajjakit, guilty of masterminding the couple’s murders and hiring two other men to help him carry out the attack
  • Police had accused Warut of plotting the murders in order to take control of Hogg's assets and sell some of them

PHRAE, Thailand: Three men in northern Thailand were found guilty Friday of murdering a British expat and his Thai wife and sentenced to death.
The bodies of retired petroleum engineer Alan Hogg, 64, and his wife Nhot Suddaen, 61, were found buried on their property in Phrae province last September.
The Phrae Provincial Court found Nhot’s older brother, Warut Rattanasajjakit, guilty of masterminding the couple’s murders and hiring two other men to help him carry out the attack. All three were found guilty of premeditated murder, concealing bodies, illegal possession of weapons without licenses and bringing those weapons into the city without licenses.
Police had accused Warut of plotting the murders in order to take control of Hogg's assets and sell some of them.
According to the court’s ruling, Warut initially asked his neighbor, Suma Utpamoon, to assist him in the murders but Suma refused after learning that Warut sought to kill his own sister. However, Suma was still paid by Warut for recommending the two men to do the job and was charged by the court with assisting premeditated murder.
Suma received a 25-year prison sentence, which was halved from a 50-year penalty because he cooperated with the investigation.
The court found that the two hired men shot Hogg with a shotgun, while Warut bludgeoned his sister to death using a car wrench. It said the killers then used a backhoe to dig a hole outside the couple’s home to bury their bodies.
The bodies were discovered once the couple was reported missing and a police investigation began.
The court called the murders “an act that extremely damages the country’s reputation as unable to ensure the safety of lives and assets.” It said the three were considered “extremely dangerous to society.”
Pawina Chuayen, a lawyer for the family of the victims, said their foreign relatives were satisfied with the court’s ruling but were also deeply affected by the events and not ready to speak about the case.


Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

Updated 16 July 2019
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Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

  • Iceland spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the Philippines' deadly anti-drug crackdown
  • Philippine police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016.

MANILA: The Philippine president is “seriously considering” cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland, which spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the thousands of deaths of suspects under his anti-drug crackdown.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters late Monday that the Iceland-initiated resolution which was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in a vote last week in Geneva showed “how the Western powers are scornful of our sovereign exercise of protecting our people from the scourge of prohibited drugs.”
Panelo says President Rodrigo Duterte “is seriously considering cutting diplomatic relations with Iceland” for initiating the “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan” resolution.
Human rights groups, however, have lauded the resolution as crucial to helping end the drug killings and bringing perpetrators to justice.
The Philippines’ highest-ranking lawmaker said on Monday a UN resolution to probe the country’s bloody war on drugs should be ignored, and its chief backer Iceland be investigated instead for human rights abuses in allowing abortion.
“They have more unborn babies that they have aborted or killed. There are more killings in abortion than the drug pushers who are fighting the police,” Senate President Vicente Sotto told ANC news channel.
The Nordic nation lacks moral grounds to lecture the Philippines on human rights, Sotto said. “So we should disregard that resolution.”
His remarks are the latest in a series of comments from lawmakers urging the government to not cooperate after the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday adopted Iceland’s resolution to investigate thousands of deaths under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign.
Police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016. Critics and rights group said authorities summarily execute suspects, which the police deny.
“The criminals can fight back, the babies cannot. What human rights are they talking about?” Sotto said, adding that drug dealers that fight back and destroy families lose their human rights.
His comments about abortion echoed those made by incoming Senator Imee Marcos, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Rights groups, which hailed the UN vote as a step toward accountability, point out that the bloody anti-narcotics campaign is marked by systematic cover-ups, planted evidence and impunity.
The president’s spokesman on Monday warned countries not to meddle with the state’s affairs.
“All incidents in the war on drugs are tallied, recorded. All they have to do is ask us, not to pre-judge us,” presidential spokesman Spokesman Panelo told a regular news conference. “It behoves them to render respect to a sovereign state.”
Duterte on Friday mocked Iceland as an ice-eating nation without understanding of his country’s problems.