THAILAND - Police have sealed off the resort island of Koh Tao off Surat Thani province to hunt down killers who brutally murdered a British couple and possibly raped the woman on Sunday night. The 24-year-old victims have been identified as Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.
Last night, one of Miller's friends was detained after he provided conflicting information, Surat Thani police commander Pol Maj General Kiattiphong Kaosam-ang said. There were multiple scratches on the suspect's body and he had a serious wound on his hand.
However, Kiattiphong said surveillance camera footage also showed an Asian man fleeing the scene at 3am, which prompted investigators to initially believe there might be a sole attacker. Police believed he could possibly have been a migrant worker or fishing-trawler crewman.
The deaths have come as a shock to tourists and residents on the small island, which is known as one of the best diving sites in Thailand.
Initial investigation at the site on Chor Por Ror beach has been completed and bodies will be sent to Bangkok for autopsy and further forensic examination.
Kiattiphong said both victims had arrived at the island separately. Witheridge checked in at Ocean Ville resort on August 27, while Miller arrived on September 13. Witheridge was with four girlfriends, while Miller came with two or three other men. As their rooms were close by, the two groups came to know each other.
Investigators learned that the victims had gone to a party at the neighbouring AC Resort, and left together before their bodies were found at 6.30am yesterday.
Police sealed off the island and kicked off a manhunt for the attackers. Residents have also been helping with the search.
According to Kiattipong, "most of the wounds were to their heads" and said he believed the suspect, or suspects, were "probably still on the island".