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Thailand Leader Sorry for 'Bikini' Remark After Koh Tao Murders

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha's comments Wednesday triggered an uproar after suggesting that foreigners in bikinis might not be safe.

BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand's military ruler has apologized for suggesting foreigners visiting the country's world-famous beaches might be unsafe wearing bikinis in the wake of the killing of two tourists. The bodies of British citizens David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found bludgeoned on a beach on Koh Tao on Monday, dealing another blow to a tourist industry struggling to recover since the army seized power in May.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha had said Wednesday that foreigners visiting the Southeast Asian country think "they can do whatever they want, wear bikinis wherever they like ... [but] will they be safe?" On Thursday, however, he backtracked. "I apologize that I have spoken too harshly...I didn't mean to criticize or look down on anyone. Today I can guarantee that Thailand is still safe ... I wanted to warn [the tourists] to be careful," he said. Although Thailand is infamous worldwide as a freewheeling hub of sex tourism, its culture is fairly conservative with many Thai women preferring to don shorts rather than bikinis on the beach. Thai police have yet to arrest anyone in connection with the Koh Tao murders.

British tourists David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found dead on a beach on Thailand's Koh Tao.Courtesy of the Miller and Witheridge


- Reuters