Cyber activist group Anonymous has hacked a number of websites to protest against the “scapegoating” of two Burmese men in the murder case of British tourists David Miller and Hannah Witheridge.
Mr Miller, a Leeds University student, and Miss Witheridge were killed on the Thai island of Koh Tao in September 2014. Following weeks of pressure from Thailand’s military rulers and the media, Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were arrested by officers working on the case. Both defendants, who were working on the island after moving from Burma, initially confessed to the murders but later retracted these statements, saying they had been tortured. They were sentenced to death on 24th December 2015, with the judge ruling that the DNA evidence used to connect the defendants to the murders was “up to international standard”.
However, in protest of what they consider to be a case built on fabricated evidence, Anonymous have today hacked several Thai police websites. Two of the websites have shown a black screen with the words “Failed Law. We want Justice. #BoycottThailand” written in white text.
A video post on Anonymous’ Facebook page details the group’s actions, showing a man in a white mask, their signature symbol, speaking of the “scapegoating” of migrant workers and calling for a boycott of Thailand until the Thai police change the way they conduct investigations involving migrants to the country. Speaking in a digitised voice, the figure said: “Anonymous has found that Thai police, lie, fabricate evidence, do poor police investigating, contaminate crime scenes, lose DNA and evidence, accuse non-Thai nationals”.
The figure also said that the Thai police “refuse to believe that their own Thai locals are responsible for any wrongdoing…We do not like the facts in this recent Koh Tao case and we do not believe the Thai court has convicted the actual murderers.”
The group, who have also urged people to sign a petition for an independent inquiry into the murders, has led a number of hacks since its emergence in 2003. In 2008, they criticised the Church of Scientology and, in November of this year, they hacked a website in support of Islamic State, and replaced the content with a Viagra advert.
While Anonymous continue their protest in response to the death sentence, David Miller’s family have declared support for the judge’s decision. Mr Miller’s brother, Michael, told journalists outside court on 23rd December: “We believe the result today represents justice for David and Hannah… We came to realise that the police investigation and the forensic work performed was not the so-called shambles it was made out to be.”