Hacking collective Anonymous has taken down a dozen websites belonging to the Thai police in protest against the "scapegoating" of two Burmese men convicted of killing British backpackers, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller in Thailand. Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death on 24 December for their murders, despite an international outcry over the handling of the investigation.
The group posted a video on Facebook showing its signature white masked man seeking justice for the murders in the right way and not by 'scapegoating' migrants. They said that after studying various online reports from bloggers around the world, their findings led to alleged corruption involving the Royal Thai Police and their lack of skills and professionalism in investigating serious crimes.
On 6 January, seven of the websites were down and two links showed a black screen with the words "Failed Law. We want Justice. #BoycottThailand" written in white text. The group said it would support a boycott of Thailand until changes are reflected in the way the Thai police handle investigations involving foreign tourists.
The group, which has led a number of hacks in the past, including those against Islamic State (Isis) sites, also posted a link for everyone to see what it called the proof and research it had gathered for reaching its conclusion of wrongful conviction. It urged people to sign a petition for an independent inquiry into the murders.
Crime and tourism
The group cited past murder cases in Thailand in which police first accused non-Thais who were later acquitted. The police allegedly chose to blame foreigners or migrants for crimes to protect the tourism industry, as damaging the reputation of locals might deter tourists from choosing the country for holidaying.
Since the verdict, there has been international outrage, especially from Myanmar, where protesters showed solidarity with the two migrants who they think have been wrongly accused. Even before the verdict, the case had drawn criticism for the way in which forensic evidence was handled, given that DNA tests conducted solely by the Thai police were considered.
Human rights activists have maintained that the migrants were forced into confessing so that the police could wrap up the case. The families of both Hannah Witheridge and David Miller have said they are satisfied with the verdict.