The naked bodies of two British tourists were found Monday on a beach in southern Thailand, media reports said, citing local police. A murder investigation is reportedly underway.
The bodies of the two -- a 23-year-old woman from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and a 24-year-old man from Jersey, Channel Islands -- were reportedly found close to a beachside bungalow on Koh Tao, a small island popular for its beaches, in Surat Thani province. Police Col. Prachum Ruangthong reportedly said the clothes of the victims and a blood-stained gardening hoe were found close to the bodies. Police suspected that the deep head wounds found on both the victims could have been caused by the hoe.
"The man was chopped in the back and on the side of his head, while the woman was chopped in her face," Ruangthong said, according to The Associated Press. "It's very gruesome."
Officials were reportedly scouring the island for clues to the killings and the motive into the death of the two tourists. Investigators were also verifying footage from surveillance cameras at nearby restaurants and hotels.
Local media reports said that there was a beach party Sunday night -- about 300 feet from where the bodies were found -- that was attended mainly by tourists. The pair had reportedly arrived in Thailand last month. Some reports also said that the male victim was from Ireland.
According to Sky News, police have blocked ferry routes to the mainland to prevent the escape of anyone linked to the murder.
"We are aware of the death of two British nationals on 15 September on the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand. The embassy are urgently seeking information from the local authorities and stand ready to provide consular assistance as needed,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said on Monday, according to The Guardian.