Cambodian police question 6 about missing British backpacker
KOH RONG, Cambodia (AP) — Police are questioning six Cambodian men employed in tourist establishments about the disappearance of British backpacker Amelia Bambridge, an official involved in the search for the 21-year-old woman said Tuesday.
Koh Rong Gov. Noun Bunthol said the six men were in police custody for questioning about Bambridge, who hasn't been seen since last Wednesday night when she left a beach party on Koh Rong island in southwestern Cambodia. Her bag with money and a cellphone was found on a nearby beach, and her passport was found in the room where she had been staying.
Noun Bunthol said no charges had been filed against the six, who worked at restaurants, hotels and guesthouses on the island. He said police received a note from some Western visitors saying the men had in the past acted badly toward foreign tourists, especially females.
A top Cambodian police official vowed that the search for Bambridge would not be ended until her fate was established. "We have decided the search mission will not be ended until we find her alive, or her body if she has died," the police chief for Preah Sihanouk province, Maj. Gen. Chuon Narin, said in a phone interview.
He said the search has been expanded to cover not only Koh Rong island, where Bambridge was last seen, and surrounding waters, but also nearby islands and farther offshore in the Gulf of Thailand. Local fishermen and neighboring provinces in southwestern Cambodia have been alerted to pass along any information, Chuon Narin said.
There has been speculation that Bambridge may have drowned. Koh Rong commune chief Chhoeun Chantha told The Associated Press on Monday that he believed that might be the case because the authorities found her belongings on a rock close the water's edge near the party site.
Britain's Press Association reported Monday that her father, Phil Bambridge, told British broadcaster Sky News that he feared his daughter had been abducted. He said he believed she had been "taken," telling Sky News: "I don't think she's had an accident. If she'd had an accident she would have been found by now."
Members of Bambridge's family who came to Koh Rong to aid the search traveled to the mainland Tuesday to meet with Preah Sihanouk Gov. Kouch Chamroeun, but details of their discussion were not immediately available. Her family learned of her disappearance when she failed to check out from her hostel.
Koh Rong, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) offshore in the Gulf of Thailand, covers an area of about 78 square kilometers (30 square miles).