Thai police hunt for killer of 2 British tourists

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

20 PHOTOS
Thai beach murder - two british tourists - Myanmar suspects
See Gallery
Thai police hunt for killer of 2 British tourists
Murdered backpackers may have been in bar row before death http://t.co/IjqZ4JFAiA http://t.co/msrcVR1M4F
Myanmar worker Win, center, is escorted by Thai police officers for a press conference in Koh Tao island , Surat Thani province, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Two workers from Myanmar have confessed to killing a pair of British tourists whose battered bodies were found on a beach in southern Thailand last month, and police said Friday that the suspects' DNA matched that collected from one of the victims.(AP Photo) THAILAND OUT
Workers from Myanmar, Saw, left, and Win, sit together, escorted by a Thai police officer, during a press conference in Koh Tao island, Surat Thani province. Thailand, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Thai police have arrested the two Myanmar workers they say confessed to killing a pair of British tourists on a beach in the southern Thailand last month. (AP Photo) THAILAND OUT
The body of slain British tourists, Hannah Witheridge, wrapped in plastic sheet, is carried at a forensic police facility in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Police on the scenic resort island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand conducted a sweep of hotels and workers' residences Tuesday searching for clues into the slayings of two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The body of slain British tourists,David Miller, wrapped in plastic sheet, is carried at a forensic police facility in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Police on the scenic resort island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand conducted a sweep of hotels and workers' residences Tuesday searching for clues into the slayings of two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The bodies of slain British tourists, wrapped in plastic sheets, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, are delivered at a forensic police facility in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday , Sept. 16, 2014. Police on the scenic resort island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand conducted a sweep of hotels and workers' residences Tuesday searching for clues into the slayings of the two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Family members of Hannah Witheridge, one of two slain British tourists, hug each other at the Royal Thai Police Headquarters before meeting with Thai police in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. Police in Thailand said Wednesday that DNA samples from the bodies of two British tourists found bludgeoned on a resort island did not match any collected from 12 people who were among those in the area.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Myanmar workers Saw, center left, and Win, center right, are escorted by a Thai police officers for a press conference in Koh Tao island, Surat Thani province, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Two workers from Myanmar have confessed to killing a pair of British tourists whose battered bodies were found on a beach in southern Thailand last month, and police said Friday that the suspects' DNA matched that collected from one of the victims. (AP Photo) THAILAND OUT
Burmese men confess to murder of British backpackers http://t.co/DjiEfWpi4M http://t.co/gR6sAv4fGO
Thai officers work near the bodies of two British tourists Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 on a beach in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand. Their bodies were discovered early Monday on a beach on Koh Tao, a small island known for its diving sites and serene beaches, police said. (AP Photo/Daily News) THAILAND OUT
Thai officers walk near the bodies of two British tourists Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 on a beach in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand. Their bodies were discovered early Monday on a beach on Koh Tao, a small island known for its diving sites and serene beaches, police said. (AP Photo/Daily News) THAILAND OUT
The bodies of slain British tourists, wrapped in plastic sheets, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, are delivered at a forensic police facility in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday , Sept. 16, 2014. Police on the scenic resort island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand conducted a sweep of hotels and workers' residences Tuesday searching for clues into the slayings of the two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A Thai police officer (L) helps rescue workers pull bags containing the bodies of two murdered British tourists out of a vehicle as they are brought to the forensic department of the Police General Hospital in Bangkok on September 16, 2014. Thai police on September 16 ruled out several Myanmar workers over the murder of two young British tourists, as Thailand's military ruler appeared to call into question the 'behaviour' of the victims themselves. David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found naked and beaten to death early on September 15 near a beachside bungalow on the island, a diving hot-spot near Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand. AFP PHOTO/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
Chief of the Forensic Police Institute Pornchai Suteerakune updates reporters on the deaths of two British tourists who were found dead on a beach in Koh Tao, a popular diving destination in the Gulf of Thailand, in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Police on the scenic Thai resort island searched hotels and workers' residences Tuesday looking for clues into the slayings of the tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier.(AP photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The body of slain British tourists, Hannah Witheridge, wrapped in plastic sheet, is carried at a forensic police facility in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Police on the scenic resort island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand conducted a sweep of hotels and workers' residences Tuesday searching for clues into the slayings of two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
British Embassy officials arrive at the Forensic Police Institute to examine the condition of the bodies of two murdered British tourists in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Police on a scenic Thai resort island searched hotels and workers' residences Tuesday looking for clues into the slayings of the tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A Thai police officer stands outside a ceremony room as British Embassy officials are inside to examine the condition of the bodies of two murdered British tourists and to report it to their families at the Forensic Police Institute in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Police on the scenic Thai resort island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand searched hotels and workers' residences Tuesday looking for clues into the slayings of two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


BANGKOK (AP) - Police on the scenic resort island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand conducted a sweep of hotels and workers' residences Tuesday searching for clues into the slayings of two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier.

More than 70 police officers were deployed to Koh Tao, a popular diving destination in the Gulf of Thailand, as the country's leaders called for a swift investigation into a pair of brutal killings that marked a new blow to Thailand's tourism industry.

"This should not have happened in Thailand. It will affect our image in the eyes of international countries," said Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said police were working "to make an arrest as soon as possible."

The bodies of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were discovered Monday morning in a rocky alcove along the shore close to the hotel where they were staying.

Both had deep wounds and gashes to the head and face that police believe were inflicted by a bloodied hoe found near the bodies.

Thai Police Search for Suspects After Two British Tourists Found Dead on Beach

The pair traveled to Koh Tao with friends and met each other on the island while staying in neighboring rooms at Ocean View Bungalows, said police Maj. Gen. Kiattipong Khawsamang.

"They went out to a bar and left together after 1 a.m. (Monday), according to closed circuit TV camera footage," he said.

Police have released still images from surveillance cameras in the area. One showed what police said were the two victims walking together hand-in-hand. Another image from later in the morning showed a single man walking in the same direction.

Police said the man looked Asian and was considered a prime suspect, but investigators were pursuing several leads.

"We are focusing on migrant workers because of the surrounding witnesses and evidence, including the video footage," Kiattipong said. "We are sweeping hotels, bars, businesses and residences of migrant workers on the beach to find the suspect."

Another police official, Col. Prachum Ruangthong, said investigators were also looking for a group of bar employees and had questioned a group of foreigners as well.

"This morning we surrounded three locations, including the residences of migrant workers, to search and collect DNA," Prachum said Tuesday.

On Monday night, about 100 local residents gathered on Sairee Beach for a candlelit vigil and said prayers for the young British couple close to the spot where their bodies were found.

The bodies of Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and Williams, from Jersey, Channel Islands, were being sent Tuesday to forensic police in Bangkok.

The attack came amid government efforts to revive Thailand's tourism industry after a military coup in May ended prolonged, sometimes violent political protests. Martial law remains in effect in many parts of Thailand.

Koh Tao, which is about 410 kilometers (250 miles) south of Bangkok, is known as a quiet, small and scenic island. It's a short boat ride from the better-known resort islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, the latter known for its raucous "full moon" parties that attract young travelers from Thailand and abroad.

More from AOL.com & our partners:
Suspect's taped confession is played in court
Peterson breaks silence
Barkley weighs in on the charges

Read Full Story

People are Reading