Temple shock

Two excerpts (parts) of stories on the shocking find of more 300 bodies of unborn babies at a temple.

Niphon Bopaethai, a neighbour of Wat Phai Ngern Chotanaram, stands in front of the temple’s morgue where more than 300 foetuses were discovered on Tuesday. The remains were stored in one of 20 compartments inside the morgue. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

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Foetus horror triggers blitz on abortion clinics

Woman ‘paid 500 baht to deliver dead babies’


Suthep Chabangbon, an undertaker at Wat Phai Ngern Chotanaram, is taken in for questioning. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

Police and health officials investigating the grisly find of 348 foetuses at a temple have launched a crackdown on illegal abortion clinics.

Health officials said yesterday they had targetted about 3,900 clinics they suspected of performing abortions.

The move came as police obtained an account from a woman working at one of three clinics they raided yesterday. She said she had been paid to transport foetuses to an undertaker at Wat Phai Ngern Chotanaram in Bang Kholaem district.

Lanjakorn Jantamanas, 33, told investigators she received 500 baht each trip to deliver foetuses to the temple. She paid an undertaker 100 baht for making the delivery.

Police said Ms Lanjakorn made the confession after they raided a shophouse in Thon Buri, yesterday.

Police said they found small rooms separated with partitions on the third floor which reeked of liquid sanitiser.

On the fourth floor, police found structures of patients’ beds and leg rests.

Ms Lanjakorn denied the shophouse functioned as an abortion clinic.
The search of two other clinics in Sathu Pradit yielded no evidence they were abortion clinics.

Pol Col Sombat Milinthajinda, the investigative chief of Bangkok Police Division 5, said yesterday an undertaker at the Buddhist temple had confessed to handling foetuses for abortion clinics in Bang Kholaem district. He has been detained by police.

Suthep Chabangbon, 46, claimed he started the service early this year. He normally accumulated the bodies and cremated them altogether.

The undertaker agreed to identify some abortion clinics but claimed he did not know the others because these clinics sent staff members to deliver the remains to him at the temple.

Pol Col Sombat said the crematorium at the temple had not been working for the past two months, and that was why the foetuses had to be stored.

The remains did not give off a foul odour initially and petrol was poured around the morgue of the temple in a bid to cover the smell.

Investigators have questioned the abbot and monks at Wat Phai Ngern Chotanaram and have concluded they were not involved.

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Neighbours in shock

Supoj Wancharoen

The grisly discovery of hundreds of foetuses at Wat Phai Ngern Chotanaram on Tuesday has shocked residents living near the temple in Bangkok’s Bang Kholaem district. No one, not even monks and the people who frequent the temple, has any idea how more than 300 plastic bags containing the remains could have been kept in the temple’s morgue before the macabre find made headlines.

Many residents said they would still keep their faith in the temple as they believed none of the monks were involved. That the remains had been kept there must have been the work of only a few bad people, they said.

Niphon Bopae thai, 70, who has lived near the temple for more than 40 years, said he and his neighbours were in the dark about how the foetuses came to be stored in the morgue.

He was amazed that such an incident could occur in this peaceful Buddhist country.

Sunee Chuenkasem, 38, said her family was not aware that a number of dead unborn babies had been kept at the morgue even though her husband worked at the temple as a cleaner.

Her family knew a temple undertaker who had allegedly confessed to having been hired to store the remains in the temple. But it never entered their minds he would actually do such a thing.

The Bangkok Post tried to contact Phra Khru Vichit Sorakhun, 69, who has been the temple abbot for only one year, but his secretary Phra Thiwa Thammachayo said he was not available to give any media interviews. The incident had caused him great distress, he said.

The monk said the temple accepted criticism as the remains had been found in its compound. ‘‘The temple has a clear allocation of tasks for staff members,’’ Phra Thiwa said.

‘‘We strictly follow rules of good governance and never interfere in the work of our personnel. We never thought that someone would commit such an evil act in the monastery compound.’’

Before the foetuses were found, the temple had received complaints from nearby residents that a foul smell coming from the temple was affecting them.

The abbot asked the staff to search the grounds for the source of the smell. One member traced the bad odour to the morgue’s compartment No.17.

neighbour – someone who lives near you,  เพื่อนบ้าน
morgue – a building in which dead bodies are kept before they are buried or cremated (= burned) ที่เก็บศพ, ห้องเก็บศพ
foetus–a young human being or animal before birth and after the organs have started to develop ทารกในครรภ์, ตัวอ่อนในครรภ์
remains – the body of a person or animal that has died ซากศพ
compartment – one of the separate parts of a container or place where things are stored ห้อง,ช่อง
horror – a strong feeling of shock or fear caused by something extremely unpleasant ความหวาดกลัว, ความขยะแขยง
trigger – to cause กระตุ้น
blitz – a sudden attack; a special effort to finish a job or to deal with a problem quickly and thoroughly การรบแบบสายฟ้าแลบ, ความพยายามอย่างมุ่งมั่นที่จะทำบางสิ่งให้สำเร็จ
abortion – a medical operation in which a developing baby is removed from a woman’s body so that it is not born alive การทำแท้ง
investigate – to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
grisly – involving death or violence in a shock way; very unpleasant to look at because it involves death or violence น่ากลัว,น่าขนลุก,น่าเขย่าขวัญ
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น เริ่มทำ
crackdown – strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
target – to direct something at someone or something ตั้งเป็นเป้าหมาย
suspect – to believe that something is true, especially something bad  สงสัย
obtain – to get something that you want or need, especially by going through a process that is difficult ได้มา, ได้รับ
account – a written or spoken report about something that has happened การอธิบาย
raid – to use force to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs เข้าตรวจค้น
undertaker – a person whose job is to prepare the bodies of dead people to be buried or cremated, and to arrange funerals ผู้จัดการศพ
confession – admitting that you have done something wrong or illegal การสารภาพผิด
partition – a wall, screen, or piece of glass used to separate one area from another in a room or vehicle ผนังกั้น,กำแพง,ฉาก
reek – to have a strong unpleasant smell ส่งกลิ่น, มีกลิ่น
sanitiser – a chemical used to make things clean and healthy, especially by killing bacteria
deny – to say that something is not true or does not exist ปฏิเสธ
function – to perform the action or the job of the thing or person mentioned; to work or operate in a particular way ทำงาน, ทำหน้าที่
yield – to produce something  ส่งผล  ให้ผล
evidence – facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime หลักฐาน
detained – kept in a place and not allowed to leave กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
accumulate – to get more and more of something over a period of time สั่งสมมานาน
cremate – to burn the body of a dead person เผาศพ
identify – to specify  ระบุ
foul – extremely unpleasant น่ารังเกียจ
odour – a smell, often one that is unpleasant กลิ่น
initially – at first ในเบื้องต้น
bid – an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
abbot – the head monk at a temple เจ้าอาวาส
conclude – to decide that something is true after looking at all the evidence you have สรุป

residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
frequent – to go somewhere regularly ไปเป็นประจำ, ไปบ่อย
macabre – frightening or unpleasant, and usually involving death, decay, or violence น่ากลัว,น่าขยะแขยง,น่าขนลุก
headline – the title of a newspaper story that is printed in large letters ข่าวพาดหัว
in the dark – unaware; not knowing about something ซึ่งไม่รู้มาก่อน
incident – something that happens, usually something bad เหตุการณ์
aware – knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
allegedly – claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven ที่กล่าวหา
media – newspapers, television, radio, etc. สื่อ
distress – a feeling that you have when you are very unhappy, worried or upset ความกังวลใจ
compound – an area in which a group of buildings stands บริเวณบ้าน
allocation – the process of deciding to give an amount of share of something to some one การแบ่งส่วน
task – something that you have to do หน้าที่; ภารกิจ
strictly – completely อย่างเข้มงวด
governance – the process of governing or controlling a country or organisation ระบบการจัดการ, วิธีการปกครอง, การควบคุม
interfere – to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this  แทรกแซง
evil – morally bad and cruel ชั่วร้าย, เลว
monastery – a building in which monks live together วัด, อาราม, ที่อยู่ของพระ
grounds – an area of land or sea where a particular thing happens บริเวณ, สถานที่
source – the place something comes from or starts at, or the cause of something แหล่งกำเนิด
trace – to follow the evidence to find out something ตามรอย ตามทาง

Related search: foetuses, Wat Phai Ngern Chotanaram, abortion

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager