Island of dark and deadly secrets as backpacker vanishes
A remote island paradise where a British backpacker mysteriously disappeared last week has a dark and deadly history.
Since 2013, the jungle-covered island of Koh Rong in Cambodia has seen a spate of horror attacks on tourists, including at least one murder. Others have been violently robbed and assaulted or found dead in suspicious or bizarre circumstances.
Amelia Bambridge, 21, vanished at a rave party on the jungle covered isle of Koh Rong in Cambodia last Wednesday.
Authorities initially suspected she drowned after going for a late night swim on Police Beach, where the rave was staged, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
But Ms Bambridge's father Phil is convinced she has been kidnapped and "taken into the woods". The Vietnam-based teacher arrived on Koh Rong at the weekend to look for his daughter.
"I'm not (optimistic) unless a miracle happens," he told The Guardian.
"I hope a miracle does happen, but I don't think we'll see her. I spoke to her (before her trip) about safety, safety, safety, safety. And she was like, 'yeah', she knew about all that. She was always reliable, switched on.
"But I think she still broke her own rules. She had her safety rules, and she let them slip, and she's now paid the ultimate price."
On Tuesday night police arrested six men employed at various tourism-related businesses on Koh Rong. They remain under questioning in custody but have yet to be charged with any crime.
AMELIA'S HAUNTING FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS
More than 150 police and volunteers, including tourists, scuba divers and islanders, have scoured beaches and dense jungle for traces of the young traveller, who was on her first solo overseas trip.
Amelia's mother Linda Schultes and sister Georgie flew in from the UK on Monday while her brother Harry caught a flight from his home in California.
Police found Ms Bambridge's purple backpack on rocks close to the shore on Thursday. It contained a small purse, several packets of over-the-counter medication, her mobile phone, a phone charger, headphones, bank cards, a watch, a lighter, a pen and a tourist SIM card.
Her passport had been left inside her hotel room, a 40 minute walk from the beach.
CCTV and mobile phone footage shows her heading to the party and chatting with a small group of people but police have been unable to recover any images of her leaving the event
"There is a high suspicion that she may have drowned," Koh Rong Governor Kouch Chamroeun said.
"Looking at her phone, she has taken pictures and posted online until 3.23am."
But Mr Bambridge said he did not believe his daughter drowned.
"We were getting conflicting times of when she got there," he told Sky News.
"I don't think she's in the sea, I think she'd inland somewhere. I think someone's taken her. I don't think she's had an accident. If she'd had an accident she would have been found."
VIOLENT ATTACKS, SUSPICIOUS DEATHS AND AN UNSOLVED MURDER
Ms Bambridge's disappearance comes almost exactly five years after an American tourist vanished in mysterious circumstances, only to be found murdered.
Palm Springs massage therapist Katherine Grgich, 55, was last seen in her hotel room on September 28, 2013. Her body was found five days later, partially clothed and with her throat slit, in the forest three kilometres away.
The case remains unresolved, with Ms Grgich's family and friends accusing island police of trying to cover up the crime by passing it off as death by misadventure.
Another tourist visiting the island at the time described the horror of discovering the American's body.
"On the first night, we were in a bar where they announced that an American woman named Katherine (same name as me) had been missing for around five days and they were having a search party the following morning," account Katherine2707 said in a post to TripAdvisor.
"Obviously, I had to try my best to help, so me and my friend went along. After trekking through the forest for over two hours, we decided to turn back to the beach, until we were stopped by some local men.
"Knowing very little English, they were trying to tell us that they had found her, so we followed them. To my horror, we had found her. Hardly any clothes on, throat had been cut and had been left there for days.
"Words cannot describe seeing this, I was in absolute shock. We told them they needed to ring the Cambodian police. We decided to leave the island that day, as we didn't feel safe. We left our details with the search party for future reference, which is a good job.
"Less than a week later, we decided to look up what had happened after Katherine's body was found. To our disbelief, we found an article saying that it was an accident. IT WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT!!
"We urgently got in touch with the US embassy to write statements on what we saw and found. Despite all of this, justice still hasn't been found and Katherine's killer is still out there."
Months earlier, two French nationals died on the island during the filming of Koh Lanta, a French version of the Survivor reality show.
While taking part in a challenge, contestant Gerald Babin, 25, suddenly doubled over with stomach cramps. He suffered a heart attack on a boat to the costal city of Sihanoukville on the mainland as producers tried to get him to a hospital. He died after a second heart attack hit during a helicopter airlift.
The bungled attempt to get Mr Babin to hospital was a huge scandal in France and made international headlines. The show's doctor, Thierry Costa, was accused of delaying medical treatment so filming would not be disrupted.
Ten days later, Dr Costa killed himself. In a suicide note written on the stationary paper from his Koh Rong hotel room, Dr Costa said he could not live with "unjust accusations and assumptions" aired by the media.
"I am sure I treated Gerad with respect as a patient and not as a contestant," he wrote.
In 2015, dual British Canadian citizen Michael Hay, 26, and his friend 49-year-old Finnish national Jouni Niemi, were robbed and assaulted at Koh Rong's Broken Heart Guesthouse in an attack so violent they almost died.
According to the Khmer Times, the victims were transporting a bag of cash and valuables from reception to Mr Niemi's bungalow when they were ambushed by a gang armed with torches, batons and a dumbbell.
"The two employees who stayed at the reception area could not see or hear past a thick cover of trees around the bungalow," the paper said, quoting a witness.
"The attackers allegedly blinded their victims with flashlights, then struck Mr Hay over the head. Then they beat both victims with batons, stones and a dumbbell.
"They took Mr Niemi down to the sea and nearly drowned him. His employee was left bleeding on the ground near the bungalow. The attackers fled with $US3000, a camera, and business documents from the box.
Later, a Russian employee of the guesthouse found a blood-covered laptop under the stairs of his boss's bungalow.
The island of Koh Rong is indeed paradise but it has a violent history.