TOP Thai police said this evening (Oct. 9) that the two CNN journalists whose coverage of the mass killing at the child care centre in Nong Bua Lamphu province was criticised by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand did not intend to intrude with the door being opened and the officials present allowing them to enter, Naewna and Thai Rath newspapers said.
Accompanied by National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas, Deputy National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Surachet Hakphan said two journalists, Ms. Anna Marguerite Coren, 47, Australian, and Mr. Daniel John Hodge, 34, British, had arrived in Thailand from Hong Kong on Oct. 6 the day the massacre of 36 small children and adults took place.
The next day they travelled to Nong Bua Lamphu province where the child care centre is located.
From questioning eyewitnesses and going through photographic evidence it was revealed that the two reporters had no intention of intruding with the door being opened and six to seven officials present when they walked in.
Pol. Gen. Surachet said it is clear that they had asked the officials in English whether they could come in and the officials allowed them to do so and that they did not sneak in and were not forbidden from entering. They were there from 10 a.m. till noon.
When they came out a cordon had been put up so they had to climb over the fence, he said, adding again that they did not intend to intrude, violate orders or tamper with the evidence.
Investigation also shows that they both had entered Thailand on tourist visas with Coren having previously come to Thailand four to five times while Hodge once before.
Immigration officers have revoked their visas and imposed a fine of 5,000 baht each which they are willing to pay and then leave for their respective homelands.
Asked why the CNN reporters had to take photographs and film the child care centre, Pol. Gen. Surachet replied that this is in line with their profession to collect as many images as possible.
Moreover CNN had issued two statements apologising to the Thai people about this incident with Coren and Hodge too sad about what happened and likewise apologised.
As photos show they did not intend to sneak in and they are both ready to leave the country without being deported they might not be blacklisted, he added.
Asked whether CNN will be asked to delete all the photos and videos of the scene of the massacre, Pol. Gen. Surachet said talks will be held on this issue and they would have to be deleted.
National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas, centre, and Deputy National Chief Pol. Gen. Surachet Hakphan, left, talking to reporters about this incident this evening. Photo: Thai Rath