Friday, November 30, 2007

Japanese tourist slain at ancient capital

SUKHOTHAI: -- A Japanese tourist was slain and robbed over the weekend while visiting Thailand's ancient capital of Sukhothai during Loy Krathong, or the Water Candle festival, police said Monday.

The body of the tourist, identified only by her first name Nomoko, was found with her throat slashed and her possessions stolen Sunday in the grass at the side of the road leading to one of the more remote ruins of the Sukhothai cultural heritage site.

Police said the woman rented a bicycle on Saturday to visit a temple on the outskirts of the main Sukhothai complex, a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Sukhothai Police Chief Major General Thirrin Padungchiwit ordered a manhunt for the perpetrators of the murder. "This is a priority case because it has damaged the reputation of Sukhothai and the entire country," said Thirrin.

The ancient ruins of Sukhothai, which was Thailand's main kingdom between 1250 to 1376, is a major tourist draw during the Loy Krathong festival, observed in Thailand on the night of the full moon in November by floating small vessels with candles and decorations in lakes, ponds and rivers to carry away one's sins.

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