Thailand investigates death of Swiss tourist near Phuket waterfall

BANGKOK, Aug.6 (Reuters) – Thailand is investigating the death of a 57-year-old Swiss tourist after her body was found near a waterfall on the resort island of Phuket, with signs that she was died of unnatural causes, officials said on Friday. .

The woman was visiting as part of the “Phuket Sandbox” program, a pilot project to allow entry of vaccinated foreign tourists to help revive an area decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Phuket Governor Narong said Woonciew, adding that she arrived on the island in July. 13.

The woman appeared to have been dead for three days before her body was found, partially undressed, Kitirath Phanpetch, the Region 8 police commander who oversees Phuket, said in an interview with MCOT TV.

Although police have yet to determine the cause of death, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat expressed condolences to the Swiss embassy in Bangkok in a statement that called the case “murder”.

Phuket’s Thai tourism program, in which vaccinated visitors can skip the COVID-19 quarantine but must stay on the island for 14 days, has got off to a rocky start, especially as the rest of Thailand faces a increase in coronavirus infections.

The program attracted around 15,000 visitors in July, its first month, or just 1% of arrivals before the pandemic.

“After completing the sandbox terms, she went to (the neighboring island of) Krabi and came back,” Kitirath said.

She stayed at a hotel in Phuket about two kilometers from a waterfall where she was later found.

The body was found with swelling and bruising, Kitirath said, adding that the results of an autopsy would be ready later on Friday.

“There was black tissue covering the body, which suggests that someone placed it there and the cause of death was not natural,” he said.

Kitirath said police were investigating people with criminal records and also migrant workers for possible involvement in the death.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat Editing by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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