Police in Thailand are currently searching for the whereabouts of 23-year-old Valentina Novozhyonova, who disappeared from her hostel.
She had been visiting from Russia when she went missing from her hostel in Koh Tao around mid-February.
The island itself already as a dark and infamous reputation, it’s been dubbed by The Samuia Times as ‘Death Island’ due to the number of deaths to the locals. Koh Tao is also the scene of the brutal murder of two British travellers, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, back in 2014.
Valentina checked into the hostel on February 11 and was due to check out on the 16, however she failed to do so and hostel staff later checked her room. Once inside they found that she had left her mobile phone and passport.
According to reports, she was visiting the island to go freediving, which is a popular attraction for backpackers who visit the island. The Phuket News has reported that Apichart Boonsrirote, the Police Chief, has allocated teams across the island and hotel to check all surveillance to find out her last known sighting.
This strikes a massive blow for Thailand’s popular tourist industry and the island of Koh Tao, which is located in the gulf of Thailand near the famed party islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
It’s only been three years since the brutal killings of Miller and Witheridge at the hands of two Burmese migrants, Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin. Both confessed to the crime but later retracted there statements claiming they were made under duress.
Tourism is a major economic factor in Thailand, making up to ฿12 trillion (£27.9 million) for the country’s GDP and is one of the most popular destinations for young travellers across the globe.