The recent discovery of the body of Elise Dallemange, the seventh young backpacker to have died in suspicious circumstances in just three years, has only strengthened my belief that Koh Tao is a place to be avoided at all costs.But while Koh Tao appears particularly troubling, corruption and mafia connections are not unique to the island.
Fault for the error lay with the United States' foreign intelligence service, the National Security Agency, which has offices in San Antonio.
Officials at the agency were forced to admit that one of the NSA's radio antennas was broadcasting at the same frequency as the garage door openers.
With attention focused on the island, a number of other disturbing deaths soon came to light, including that of Nick Pearson, from Derby, who police concluded had fallen from cliffs and then drowned, and French tourist Dimitri Povse, who was found hanged with his hands tied behind his back.
Since then, I have refused to visit the island, have strongly advised friends and family not to go and have declined to include Koh Tao in any of my travel-related articles.
But while Thailand shines brightly on many fronts – its exuberant capital, mesmerising beaches, bucolic countryside, lip-smacking food – it is mirrored by a dark side, a far cry from the tourism authority's vision of paradise.
During my years living in the Land of Smiles, I heard almost daily tales of horrific motorbike, car, boat and bus accidents, scams and property frauds, drownings and diving incidents, stabbings, suicides and highly-suspicious deaths.
TAO's area of operations ranges from counterterrorism to cyber attacks to traditional espionage.
The documents reveal just how diversified the tools at TAO's disposal have become -- and also how it exploits the technical weaknesses of the IT industry, from Microsoft to Cisco and Huawei, to carry out its discreet and efficient attacks.
These are particularly common during the monthly Full Moon parties and generally occur late at night near bars.” The FCO goes on to state: “Drink spiking has been reported in tourist destinations around Thailand, with both male and female victims. You should take extra care when visiting the country.