A 22-year old British man has been shot dead at a new year's eve party on the Thai island of Koh Phangan - it is thought Stephen Ashton was caught in the crossfire between two rival gangs.

Full Moon Party, Haad Rin, Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand (LIBRARY PICTURE 2008) - Getty

Confirming the victim's identity, a Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the death of a British national in Thailand on new year's eve. We are providing consular assistance to the family."

Witnesses said that two groups of Thai youths got into an argument which escalated into a fist-fight at around 4am. As one of the groups ran from the bar, one man turned and fired a shot back inside.

The 22-year old British tourist was shot in the torso. He was rushed to Ban Don International Hospital but was later pronounced dead.

Local police spokesman Lt Col Somsak Noorod said: "He was shot in the side while he was dancing on the beach."

The shooting took place at the Zoom Bar on Haad Rin Beach.

'The nicest guy'

Tributes have been paid on social networking sites as friends expressed their shock at hearing the news.

Aaron Kelly wrote on Facebook: "Horrible news. Be good up there mate."

Jaydon Gibbs said on Twitter: "My heart is with his family. The nicest guy RIP Stephen Ashton xx"

Another Twitter user, Dean DeRosa, said: "Worst news for the start of 2013 ! R.I.P Stephen Ashton ! Was a good lad !!"

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