20:38 GMT +320 November 2019
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    A woman walks along the beach in Koh Rong, Cambodia

    Social Media Comes to Defence of British Backpacker Who Vanished After Cambodia Beach Party

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    Every year tens of thousands of backpackers from Europe, North America and Australia head to South East Asia. The “backpacker trail” includes Cambodia, which emerged from bloody conflict only 20 years ago.

    Cambodia has deployed soldiers and divers to scour the island of Koh Rong in the search for British backpacker Amelia Bambridge, 21, who vanished on 24 October.

    Nearly 200 armed forces personnel and police officers are combing the island in an attempt to find Amelia, who was last seen at a beach party.

    Kheang Phearun, a spokesman for the provincial administration, said: "Divers are searching in the sea around Koh Rong while the others are scanning the jungle. We have not yet found the missing British woman."

    Social media in Britain is full of people sending best wishes and offering hope to Amelia’s family, who lives in Worthing, near Brighton on the south coast of England.

    Many people also took to Twitter to defend the right of young women to travel the world and criticised those who had blamed her for travelling alone.

    Amelia was last seen at 3.30am at a beach party but the alarm was not raised until she failed to check out of her hostel later that day.

    ​Her bag and phone was reportedly found at the ironically named Police Beach.

    Her family have flown to Cambodia and arrived in the nearby city of Sihanoukville.

    Koh Rong is an island popular with backpackers because of its cheap guesthouses, beachside bars and beautiful beaches.

    ​In 1975 the Khmer Rouge took over the country under Pol Pot, renamed it Kampuchea and introduced an extreme Maoist society where intellectuals were considered suspect and cities were emptied. 

    Millions of Cambodians people died before the Vietnamese Army marched in and ousted the Khmer Rouge, who retreated to western Cambodia and fought a guerrilla war until 1998.

    ​Although Cambodia is now generally considered safe, foreigners are occasionally preyed upon in a country where poverty is endemic.

    ​In 2004 British backpacker Eddie Gibson, 19, vanished in Poipet, near the border with Thailand. A decaded later bones were discovered but the Cambodian police later said they did not belong to Gibson.

    ​Last week a court charged three Cambodian men with raping a French tourist in the coastal province of Kampot.

    In 2013 the mutilated body of French tourist Ophelie Begnis, 25, was found floating in a river near Kampot. Olivier Van den Bogaert, 40, from Belgium, was charged with her rape and murder but later released due to a lack of evidence.

    Tags:
    United Kingdom, Sihanoukville, Cambodia, tourist
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