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Since the reopening of the case on the April death of Belgian backpacker Elise Dellamagne this week, stories have been coming fast and furious in international news about Koh Tao, nicknamed “Death Island” by some press due to all the mysterious foreign deaths on the small isle.
While most stories have been updates on Dellamagne and the last backpacker to disappear, Russian tourist Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, back in March; others have been roundups of all the foreigners to die or disappear on the island over the last three years. The most famous of these being Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, who were savagely murdered on the island’s beach in 2014.
Today, a writer for the UK’s Independent, who used to live in Thailand, wrote about the island’s “dark side” and strongly urged tourists to avoid the destination.
She wrote about how both locals and expats on Koh Tao are afraid to speak on the deaths and disappearances since it’s allegedly an open secret that the island is run by a mafia family that has no qualms about killing those they see as opposition.
The writer claims that the mafia family “demanded protection money, controlled the local police force, and were not above attacking or burning down the homes and businesses of people that crossed them.”
The Sun followed up with the story this afternoon of a young man, Sean McAnna, who claims he had a run-in with the Koh Tao mafia family and they threatened his life.
McAnna spoke to the press back in 2014 and is a friend of the murdered David Miller. He fled Koh Tao a week after Miller and Witheridge’s bodies were found amid alleged threats on his life. Two newspapers saw fit to repackage and republish his story today in the wake of the latest foreign death.
The young man said he was drinking at the same bar Miller and Witheridge visited just before they were murdered. He claimed that two men approached him, claiming that McAnna had murdered the Brit backpackers.
He alleges that they told him they were going to take him into the jungle and hang him to make it look like he hung himself. The claimed to tell him that this would make him look like he was was responsible for the murders. He believes these people were part of the island mafia family. He fled from them and spent the night hiding out before taking the first flight he could from the island paradise.
He echoed the statement made by the Independent writer when he said he would never return to Koh Tao.