Body Found Off Koh Tao 'Not Missing Swissman'

Tourist police issued a missing person poster for Suter Hanspeter, 44, who was last seen at around 5 pm on Haat Sai Ri beach on 8 November.

SURAT THANI — The dead body found off the southern island of Koh Tao yesterday is not the Swiss tourist who was reported missing a week ago, police say.

Deputy commander of Surat Thani police Pol.Col. Sonthichai Arwattanakullathep said yesterday that a forensic examination revealed that the unidentified body is not Hanspeter Suter, who went missing on 8 November. 

Suter was reported missing after he rented a set of snorkeling equipment from Haat Sai Ri beach on Koh Tao island. He was last seen swimming "in the shallow area" of the sea on the same day a rainstorm hit the coast of southern Thailand, raising fears that he may have drowned.

Police have yet to identify the dead body that was found on 14 November, though Pol.Col. Sonthichai speculated that the deceased may have been European because "the body has a tattoo that's popular among Europeans."

"Police have sent requests for information to every foreign embassy about the matter," Pol.Col. Sonthichai said. "We are waiting confirmation about who the deceased is."

Suter's disappearance is the latest incident to hit the popular island of Koh Tao, a top destination for snorkeling where two British backpackers were murdered in September. Police have accused two Burmese migrant workers on the island of murdering the two Britons, but they have denied the allegation.

Pol.Col. Sonthichai insisted that the dead body found off the coast of Koh Tao shows no marks of murder. "We are waiting for the autopsy report about the cause of death," he said. 

Police have urged anyone who has information about Suter to contact them at 1555 or 081-538-9714.

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