Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kouch Chamroeun led operations that were in full swing on Sunday in the search for a British traveller reported missing on Koh Rong island.
Amelia Bambridge, 21, was last seen leaving a party on the island’s Police Beach on Thursday morning.
A national-level working group said search teams comprising divers were looking for her along the coast, in mountainous jungle areas and rivers, as well as the area around the location she was last seen at, where it said a lot of construction workers were living.
Koh Rong commune chief Chhoeun Chantha said on Sunday that efforts to look for the British woman had been divided into two large teams that were searching the sea and the jungle.
However, he said he suspected Bambridge may have drowned as her watch and handbag were found on a beach, lying on a rock near the water’s edge.
An 18-year-old, who was part of the group travelling in Cambodia with Bambridge and who had raised the alarm, said the search operation was in full swing, British tabloid the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.
“People are diving. People are checking the jungles and the beaches. Police sent three search teams out, so they’re helping as well. It’s a whole island thing now. Everyone’s looking,” Ryan Harris said.
Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum said on Sunday that Chamroeun was directly leading search efforts.
“The authorities are investigating. When comprehensive information is gathered, I will provide it in detail,” Phearum said.
Preah Sihanouk province deputy police chief Nob Panha said that Bambridge had befriended a Dutch national while in Cambodia after visiting Vietnam.
The missing woman’s family told the BBC that she had begun her travels on September 27, flying first to Vietnam to meet her Vietnamese father. They both travelled to Cambodia before she went to Koh Rong.
The Mail said Bambridge, from Worthing, a seaside town south of London, left a party at Police Beach alone at 3am on Thursday to return to her hostel, the Nest Beach Club, around 1.8km away.
She had intended to leave Koh Rong on Thursday afternoon with a friend. Her passport was left at the hostel.
Bambridge was on a gap year.
Harris said he had met Bambridge in Phnom Penh before they headed to Koh Rong. They were together for a few days and met other travellers,the Mail said.
“She was one of the first people I met over here about a week ago. I met her in Phnom Penh and we [went] to Koh Rong. We all spent a few days together and met up with a few other people in a big group.
“We went on to a neighbouring island, but she stayed there with another girl I know who had travelled with us on the boat.
“I then had to travel back to Koh Rong after leaving my passport at the hostel, and when I got there two people told me she had gone missing. I assumed she would turn up, but I have since travelled another 12 hours on a bus to Siem Reap
and she still has not been found. She is supposed to be in Siem Reap by now.
“From my experience, I would say it is out of character for her not to come back after a few hours, and it's a small island," Harris said.
Bambridge's sister, Georgie, 19, told the BBC that going missing was out of character for her sister.
“We need to be strong and we are trying to be positive, but it’s the unknown. She is strong-minded, really sensible and very organised. I’m just in shock, she has never done anything like this before,” she said.
The BBC reported a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman as saying: “We are assisting the family of a British woman who has been reported missing in Cambodia and are in close contact with the Cambodian police.”