British and Irish backpackers raped on beach on Thai island

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The Independent Online

Two women backpackers from Britain and Ireland have been raped on a beach in Thailand, Thai police said on Monday.

Two women backpackers from Britain and Ireland have been raped on a beach in Thailand, Thai police said on Monday.

Officers said the two 23-year-olds were attacked by two local men as they walked along a beach on their way back to their chalet on the idyllic holiday island of Koh Samui.

One of the women fought back and managed to bite her attacker on the shoulder, but they were both overpowered and pulled into a wooded area by the men, who were believed to be in their mid-20s. The men fled when they were disturbed by a passer-by, the Thai Rath newspaper reported.

The women were found wandering in a confused and distressed condition by local police, who informed the British embassy.

A spokesman for the Thai police said: "The women have now been taken to the [southern] town of Surathani to help form a photo-fit. They were raped by two Thai men who spoke good English. The women suffered minor injuries in the struggle and have been taken to hospital for an examination."

Earlier this month, the British embassy in Bangkok said that nine British tourists had reported being raped in Thailand since the beginning of last year. It said three women were raped in Bangkok, four were raped on remote islands and two in the northern capital, Chiang Mai. The Chiang Mai Tourist Guide Association has complained to the city's police that too little is being done to protect visitors. Almost a year ago, Kirsty Jones, another British backpacker, was raped and strangled in a guest house in Chiang Mai.

The Foreign Office has advised women travelling in Thailand to maintain a "high state of personal awareness".

More rapes are reported by British women travellers in Spain than in any other country, according to Foreign Office statistics. In recent years large numbers of women have reported rapes and sexual assaults in Turkey, although the number of assaults was reduced last year after a police initiative.

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