DOUBTS have been raised that Khmer Rouge guerillas are behind the abduction of a former Hong Kong couple and a British tourist, snatched in Cambodia last week. While the Cambodian Government maintains the guerillas are to blame, sources close to the Khmer Rouge have told the Sunday Morning Post they are not responsible for the snatch, raising fears independent bandits - possibly rebel government soldiers - may be holding the trio. As negotiations for their release continue, the British embassy in the Cambodian capital has warned its nationals to stay away from known Khmer Rouge areas. A senior embassy official would not speculate on whether the kidnapping of foreigners was a new Khmer Rouge tactic. But he said the travel advisory was in reaction to the ''best available evidence''. Briton Dominic Chappell and his Australian girlfriend Kelly Wilkinson - who formerly lived on Lamma Island - were abducted with British tourist Tina Dominy. The trio was forced at gunpoint to leave their taxi which had been stopped at a roadblock in southern Sihanoukville province on Monday. While Australian and British officials have publicly praised official rescue efforts, in private they have questioned the Cambodian Government's accounts. ''We really don't know what's going on,'' one diplomatic source said. ''It's hard to tell at this stage what the real truth is.'' Interior Minister You Hokney discounted talk of renegade soldier involvement as rumour. ''We know where the hostages are, who is holding them, and it is definitely the Khmer Rouge,'' he said. He said talks had begun with the kidnappers and reports have said the three have not been harmed. But local opinion is increasingly questioning official accounts of the kidnapping. One close friend of the victims told the Sunday Morning Post : ''It's not the Khmer Rouge. That's what we are hearing from everyone but the Government.'' Miss Wilkinson and Mr Chappell, both 24, along with Miss Dominy, who is in her early 20s, were abducted near Sre Ambel, about 130 kilometres south of Phnom Penh while making a weekly supply run on Route Four - dubbed by locals as ''The Cannonball Run'' - between the capital and Sihanoukville. The couple run the Rendezvous restaurant in the southwestern seaside town. Miss Dominy had been travelling around the country but decided to stay on. Government sources say about 30 rebels were in the midst of a battle with government soldiers when the rebels split into two divisions. About 15 men retreated down Route Four and had stopped a lorry when the trio's rented car arrived on the scene. The rebels pulled the three from the car at gunpoint and fled into the jungle. Mr Hokney said the captors had been identified as Khmer Rouge forces under the command of Chief Bo, the rebel leader in Phnom Kamchay. He admitted security needed to be increased on Route Four and promised an expansion of the six mobile patrols that roamed the road daily. David White, a partner in the Rendezvous restaurant, said he made the trip to Phnom Penh with Mr Chappell and Miss Wilkinson every week. He discounted any speculation the trio were targeted by bandits. He said the trio were respected in Sihanoukville and had no known enemies. ''That's what's weird. This is the first time we've seen the kidnapping on people who aren't NGOs [workers with non-governmental organisations],'' he said. The Co-operative Committee for Cambodia last week issued an emergency order to avoid the route completely. Melissa Himes, a 25-year-old American worker with the Christian aid group, Food for the Hungry International, has already spent nearly three weeks in captivity. Khmer Rouge forces reportedly took her hostage in Kompot Province and are demanding a huge cash ransom. Officials with the organisation have confirmed an offer of humanitarian equipment and training, but fear setting a dangerous precedent by paying off the assailants. Friends of Miss Wilkinson and Mr Chappell now fear the pair could be held for some time. The captives' families are staying in close contact with officials handling the case. Mr Chappell's father, David, a writer and photographer from Lamma Island, is debating whether to fly to Cambodia tomorrow. Miss Wilkinson's father, Peter, and brother Sean arrived in Phnom Penh on Friday.