British man shot dead at Thai New Year beach party

A 22-year-old British tourist was shot dead as he danced at a New Year party on one of Thailand's most famous islands after a fight between rival Thai gangs erupted on the beach, police said on Tuesday.

Stephen Ashton was killed when a Thai man opened fire at a bar on the southern island of Koh Phangan in the early hours of the morning.

"He was shot in the side while he was dancing on the beach," local policeman Lieutenant Colonel Somsak Noorod told AFP, adding the area had been packed with revellers during the evening's New Year celebrations.

Police believe the gunman was aiming at members of a rival gang.

The British Foreign Office said it was providing consular assistance to Ashton's family.

Phangan is a resort island in the Gulf of Thailand neighbouring Koh Samui and draws thousands of backpackers to its famous full moon parties.

Most Popular in Asia