Tsunami aid not misused, claim Thai police

Thai police yesterday rejected allegations that they had misused money donated by the United States and six European nations to help identify victims of the 2004 tsunami.

Thai police yesterday rejected allegations that they had misused money donated by the United States and six European nations to help identify victims of the 2004 tsunami.

"I can guarantee that the money was not misused," police spokesman Ajiravid Subranbhesaj told a news conference in Thailand's southern coastal province of Phang Nga, where the killer waves hit hardest two years ago.

The allegations came as Thailand marked the second anniversary of the devastating tsunami, which killed 5400 people in the kingdom.

Roughly half of the victims were foreign holidaymakers.

The United States, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, which had contributed about $1,6 million (R11,2 billion), sent a joint complaint to the Thai police in November, urging them to launch a probe.

The joint letter of complaint also urged Thai authorities to complete DNA testing and matching of more than 400 bodies.

"We appreciate the many pressures on all involved, but we would urge that this process be completed now with the greatest possible speed," it said.

Tsunami memorials took place all day yesterday in most of the six Thai provinces where the giant waves inundated luxury resorts, backpacker bungalows and quiet fishing villages, destroying lives, homes and businesses.

The Indian Ocean tsunami killed a total of around 220000 people in 11 countries. - Sapa-AFP

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