Thai PM apologizes for 'bikini' remark

Updated: 2014-09-18 21:36


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BANGKOK - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan- ocha on Thursday apologized for an offhand remark that equated wearing bikini with unsafety for the tourists. The comment has sparked international outrage following the murder of a young British couple on an island of Thailand.

"There are always problems with tourist safety. They think our country is beautiful and safe so they can do whatever they want, they can wear bikinis and walk everywhere." Prayuth said on television late Wednesday.

"But can they be safe in bikinis? ... Unless they are not beautiful," he added. Many Thais responded critically on social media.

Prayuth said Thursday he apologized for the discomfort caused by the comment. He insisted he did not mean to insult or blame anyone, but only remind foreign visitors to exercise caution at certain places and times.

"The safety level in our country and tourists' home countries is probably unequal and I'm concerned about this," he said.

The British Embassy in Bangkok told local media it had contacted the Thai Foreign Ministry raising its "concerns" over Prayuth's remarks and asked "for clarification".

Thai government deputy spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said earlier that the government had clarified the matter with officials at the British Embassy. He said the general public should take into consideration the context of what Prayuth said.

Police on Thursday continued searching for the murderers of two British tourists, three days after their bodies were found on a beach of Ko Tao, an island in the Gulf of Thailand and off the Thai southern province of Surat Thani.

Police now believe that there was more than one murderer who had killed David William Miller, 24, and 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge.

Related: 2 British tourists murdered in Thailand