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Britons die in 'gruesome' attack

Two British tourists have been found dead on a beach in southern Thailand following a "gruesome" attack.

Thai police described the two as a 23-year-old woman from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and a 24-year-old man from Jersey.

Their bodies were discovered early on Monday on Koh Tao, a small island known for its diving sites and serene beaches.

A bloodied hoe was found near the bodies and is believed to have been used as the murder weapon, police chief Prachum Ruangthong said.

"The man was chopped in the back and on the side of his head, while the woman was chopped in her face," he said.

"It's very gruesome."

Police said they had no immediate suspects and are checking CCTV cameras at nearby restaurants, hotels and shops in search of the attackers.

Investigators are also looking for witnesses who might know if the pair attended a nearby late-night beach party.

Local media reported that outraged residents of the island, which is home to about 2,000 people and relies on its tourist industry, had blockaded its piers to help police prevent the killers from escaping.

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.

An initial investigation found that the victims had travelled separately to Koh Tao, where they met while staying at the same seaside hotel, police Major General Kiattipong Khawsamang said.

"They went out to a bar and left together after 1am, according to CCTV footage," he said.

Police said they have no immediate suspects and are checking more camera footage in search of the attacker.

"We don't know who the suspect might be yet, but we have talked to different witnesses who might lead us to some clues," Mr Kiattipong said.

He added that the woman was travelling with three other friends.

Koh Tao, an island in Surat Thani province, is a quieter destination than the neighbouring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, where "full moon" parties attract travellers from Thailand and abroad.

It lies 250 miles south of Bangkok.

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