Man in court over tourist shooting
Published 03/01/2013 | 03:00
A man accused of shooting dead a British holidaymaker during a New Year's Eve party in Thailand has appeared in court.
Ekkapan Kaewkla, 26, has been charged with killing Stephen Ashton and carrying a weapon following the incident on the paradise island of Koh Phangan.
Mr Ashton, 22, a former City trader from Purley, south London, was enjoying new year celebrations when he was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between rival gangs.
The BBC is reporting that the suspect has been transferred to the larger island of Koh Samui, where there is a court, and has been remanded in custody.
It said Kaewkla was expected to spend the day in detention while the police prepare charges against him. He can be detained for up to 84 days.
The BBC said the Thai police believe they have enough evidence to charge Kaewkla with pre-meditated murder.
The British ambassador to Thailand, Mark Kent, is expected to visit the crime scene after footage emerged of Kaewkla and Thai police carrying out a reconstruction of events there.
Mr Ashton's family have reportedly travelled to Koh Phangan to identify his body formally and make arrangements for its repatriation.
Thai police said Mr Ashton was with a group of friends and 300 other tourists seeing in 2013 at a pub and restaurant called the Zoom Bar in Haad Rin Beach when he was shot by a home-made gun shortly after 4am on Monday.
Koh Phangan, situated north of tourist haven Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, is a popular destination for backpackers and students on gap years.