Amelia Bambridge, 21, went missing five days ago in Cambodia (pictured in the country). She was last seen at a beach party on the island of Koh Rong
Six men have been arrested by police investigating the disappearance of British backpacker Amelia Bambridge in Cambodia.
The 21-year-old backpacker from Worthing disappeared last Wednesday after being seen on Police Beach, a nightspot popular with tourists on the island of Koh Rong in the south of the country.
While 200 army, navy and police personnel scoured the island on Tuesday, one police official revealed his diminishing hopes, saying: ‘We are looking for a body now.’
The six detainees, some of whom work in local bars, have been taken to police headquarters of neighbouring coastal province Sihanoukville, a senior officer told AFP on Tuesday.
‘They are being questioned,’ provincial deputy police chief Nop Panha said. ‘We are not drawing any conclusions yet.’
Another senior police source said there was ‘little hope’ that Miss Bambridge will be found alive after a days-long hunt yielded few clues to her whereabouts.
Miss Bambridge’s distraught family – who have been regularly posting on Facebook asking for information for their daughter’s whereabouts – are in Cambodia and have been shuttling between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong as the search intensifies.
Cambodian soldiers and divers leave on a rubber boat from Koh Rong island to search for missing British woman Amelia Bambridge off the island in Sihanoukville province on Tuesday
Volunteers search for Miss Bambridge today, the 21-year-old Briton from Worthing who disappeared last Wednesday
‘Where are you Amelia we miss you dearly,’ posted sister Sharon Schultes on Facebook. ‘PLEASE FIND OUR AMELIA.’
Authorities are checking with fishermen if anyone was accidentally caught in their nets, while teams are also trudging through Koh Rong’s lush jungles for clues.
On Monday Miss Bambridge’s father Phil, who is in the country helping with the search, spoke out after reviewing CCTV footage from the night she vanished.
Contradicting claims from Cambodian officials that Miss Bambridge drowned following a beach party, Mr Bambridge says he is convinced she was taken into the jungle.
Mr Bambridge said he decided to review CCTV tapes after getting conflicting reports from Cambodian authorities about when she went to the party on Police Beach where she was caught on camera, just hours before vanishing.
Among hours of grainy footage, he discovered images of her leaving her hotel around 2am with a group of friends to head to the beach, around 20 minutes away.
Amelia (pictured left alongside sister Georgie, right) had been dreaming of the trip for years and had sent messages home gushing about her experiences so far
Amelia had been staying at Nest Beach Club Hostel, around 40 minutes away from Police Beach, where she was last seen
Speaking to Sky News, he said: ‘We were getting conflicting times of when she got there. I don’t think she’s in the sea, I think she’s 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.’
Search efforts initially focused on the beach after a bag containing her credit card, money, and some medication was found on a rock near the water.
Phil said that he is rapidly losing hoping of seeing his daughter alive again, and believes she broke her own rules around staying safe despite his repeated warnings before she left
Father Phil Bambridge (left) said that after reviewing CCTV of his daughter’s last night alive (right), he believes she was abducted and taken into the jungle
It was that discovery that led Chhoeun Chantha, commune chief of Koh Rong, to say that he fears Miss Bambridge had drowned.
But on Monday efforts were split between the water and jungle after drones, divers and speedboats failed to uncover any trace of Miss Bambridge.
Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Bambridge admitted that he is losing hope of seeing his daughter alive again.
‘I’m not doing very well,’ he said. ‘I just hope we can find her, but it seems like it’s going to be difficult.
Police officers scan the waves today as they continue their search for Miss Bambridge despite diminishing hopes
Soldiers and divers in a rubber dinghy head out to sea from Koh Rong during the search
Inside the bag was the Briton’s phone, watch, purse, credit card and medication
‘I’m not [optimistic], unless a miracle happens. 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.’
Meanwhile Georgie, Amelia’s sister, told how she had been having ‘the best time ever’ in Cambodia after years spent dreaming of the trip.
‘She went to the Police Beach party on Wednesday night – the last time I spoke to her was Wednesday daytime,’ Georgie said.
‘She said it was doing so much for her confidence and she found so many people who were friendly. She said “Everyone is so cool here” and couldn’t be happier.
‘She has spent the past two years saving for it and spent the last year reading blogs of travellers, researching what she was going to do.’
Miss Bambridge (pictured in the UK) had been dreaming of her trip to Asia for several years
Cambodian volunteers search for missing British woman Amelia Bambridge in Koh Rong island in Sihanoukville province
A Cambodian police officer peers over the side of his boat as the search continues today
Her family said her trip to Asia began on September 27, when she flew to Vietnam.
Georgie said her sister ‘would never drink to excess’ and was ‘always in control,’ adding: ‘She would always be looking out for me, it’s not like her to not look after herself.’
The family learned of her disappearance when she failed to check out from her hostel, with her passport found in her room.
Koh Rong, about 15 miles offshore in the Gulf of Thailand, covers an area of about 30 square miles.
It is is a two-hour boat ride from the coast and draws budget travellers with its cheap guesthouses, beachside bars and idyllic beaches.
On Sunday night footage of the gap-year student taken hours before she vanished was released by her family in a desperate attempt to help find her.
A video shows Amelia around a fire with pals before she is thought to have left in the early hours of Thursday.
Her mother Linda Schultes, 52, has travelled to Cambodia from Worthing and was briefed on Sunday by police on the search.
Her brother Harry arrived in the country on Sunday to assist those searching for the missing backpacker.
A Cambodian officer looks out to sea during the search on Tuesday
Cambodia soldiers leap rocks after offering prayers in hopes of finding British national Amelia Bambridge on the shore of Koh Rong island
The island has undergone development in lockstep with the construction and casino boom in nearby Sihanoukville, thanks to a cash influx from Chinese investors.
While widely seen as a safe landing point for tourists travelling through Southeast Asia, Cambodia has grabbed headlines in the past for serious crimes involving foreigners.
A Cambodian court last week charged three men with gang-raping a French tourist in the coastal province of Kampot after offering her a ride in their car.