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VIC: Young man's naked body washes up on beach

By Greg Roberts
02 Jan 2009 4:27 PM

MELBOURNE, Jan 2 AAP - Police are trying to identify a young man whose body washed up on a Victorian beach dressed only in a pair of socks.

Two campers on a morning walk found the body of the Asian man on the beach at French Island, in Victoria's Western Port Bay, at about 10am (AEDT) on Friday.

Police did not believe the man, aged in his 20s, had been dead for very long, Senior Constable Scott Hanley, of the Hastings criminal investigation unit, said.

"He had not been dead for an extended period of time and the first thing we have to do is identify him," Sen Const Hanley said.

"We have contacted the missing persons unit, we have already spoken to Cowes police (at nearby Phillip Island) but they have not got anybody missing.

"He was only wearing ankle socks but you would think that would be the first thing you would take off if you were entering water."

Police are considering a range of scenarios including whether the body washed on to mud flats on the island with the tide from the more populous Phillip Island or the mainland.

The campers had been walking 500 metres north of the Fairhaven campsite on the island, around seven kilometres from Hastings on the mainland and approximately 15km north of Phillip Island.

Police have not ruled out murder, but are awaiting the results of an autopsy, which they expect to receive on Saturday.

"We get heavy rips and tides here and the ranger told us there has been a strong south-easterly wind in recent days, so the ocean comes in strong and gets pushed out again to Bass Strait where there is nothing, no people," Snr Const Hanley said.

"It could possibly have drifted across."

Snr Const Hanley said the man could have been a fisherman.

He said a similar situation occurred several years ago, when it took nearly a year to identify an Asian fisherman whose body was found in Port Phillip Bay, near Frankston.

Police say the man had no distinguishing features.