Discoveries of submerged Buddha statues in Samut Prakan canal spark theft investigation

Picture courtesy of Sanook

A search conducted by Thai officials in Samut Prakan‘s Lad Luang canal, Phra Pradaeng, led to the discovery of an additional ten Buddha statues submerged underwater. This follows the discovery of nearly 100 statues yesterday. The authorities stored the found artefacts in a local police station while investigating the ownership of the statues and the individuals responsible for abandoning them.

Initially, at around 1.30am on Sunday, residents saw two pick-up trucks and a sedan parking near the canal and dropping items into the water. The authorities are considering two possible motives for this action: the individuals possibly stole the items and disposed of them to cover their tracks, or they found the statues in abandoned temples and left them in the canal, KhaoSod reported.

A 46 year old resident, Wanchai Suphan, recalled seeing the statues, some of them depicting a horizontal Guan Yin goddess, stuck beneath his house’s stilts. He cleaned the statues and planned to return them to the police station. Another resident, Boonsong Japtham, an 80 year old living nearby, heard the noise of the items being disposed of at around 4 am but didn’t see the perpetrators.

Phra Ratchaphat Sunthorn, chief of Phra Pradaeng district and abbot of Songthamworamahawihan temple, stated they are trying to determine the source of the statues and will coordinate with local temples to check if any of them reported losses. The found statues include both old and new ones in various conditions. Some of the statues depict highly revered figures such as Luang Por Sothon and Luang Por Ban Laem.

Chamnan Chanchai, a local guardian caretaker, shared his disappointment, saying that true guardians would not abandon their statues like that, adding that abandoning sacred items is disrespectful to Buddhists. Furthermore, he suggested that the statues likely came from theft or improper handling at the temple sites.

Phra Ratchaphat Sunthorn requested locals who might have information about thefts to contact Phra Pradaeng police station. At present, authorities are yet to determine the exact origin of the statues, but the investigation is ongoing.

Thailand News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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