Thai police say Swedish tourist was murdered while walking along a Phuket beach


BANGKOK, Thailand: Police investigating the murder of a Swedish tourist in Thailand said Sunday the woman was taking a walk on the beach when she was attacked and stabbed in the neck.

The woman, identified as 27-year-old Hanna Charlotta Backlund, was found dead Saturday on the island of Phuket, one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations.

Police Lt. Gen. Sakchai Limcharoen said the woman and a friend were camping out in a tent on the grounds of a hotel on Mai Khao beach, on the northern tip of Phuket.

On Saturday afternoon, Backlund asked her travel companion to join her for a walk on the beach but the friend stayed back at the hotel, Sakchai said. When Backlund failed to return, the friend went looking for her and found her body in the sand.

Initial investigations indicate that she was followed from her hotel and attacked.

“She fought back,” Sakchai said. “The attacker or attackers stabbed her.”

Backlund was stabbed in the neck, and had apparent knife wounds on her body and her left hand, Sakchai said.

Police said they feared any clues left in the sand had been washed away by waves.

The Swedish Embassy was closed for the weekend and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tobias Nilsson confirmed Backlund’s identity but declined to discuss other details.