Dispute over Thailand’s tallest Thao Wessuwan statue escalates

A contentious dispute has erupted over the world’s tallest statue of the deity Thao Wessuwan, as the landowner, who had initially agreed to a sale, has now backed out. This sudden change has caused confusion and concern among the devotees.

In a press conference convened at the Sathan Saphan Bun Association in Rayong Province, 27-year-old Chakkrit, renowned for his charitable work in providing free funerary services across Thailand, addressed the controversy surrounding the Thao Wessuwan statue’s location.

He explained that the misunderstanding arose from an online post, which has since led to widespread confusion among those who revere the deity.

Chakkrit, also known as Pound to send corpses for free throughout Thailand, initiated the construction of the world’s tallest statue of Thao Wessuwan four years ago. The project aimed to support his mission of offering free corpse transportation nationwide. The land in question, measuring 365 square metres, was initially leased for a monthly fee of 15,000 baht, with discussions to purchase it for approximately 6 million baht.

Despite intending to honour the initially agreed purchase price, Chakkrit faced a steep increase in the land’s selling price to 11 million baht, which he managed to negotiate down to 8.8 million baht, to be paid over three years in three instalments. However, the landowner’s terms changed, demanding full payment within one year. With construction already underway, Chakkrit felt compelled to accept the terms and paid a 1 million baht deposit.

As the second instalment deadline approached, Chakkrit, facing financial constraints, sought a deferral. However, the landowner’s broker imposed a monthly penalty of 76,000 baht for the missed opportunity, and Chakkrit managed to pay this penalty for six months. Unable to sustain these payments, he received an ultimatum to relocate the statue within three months. In response, Chakkrit requested a six-month extension to the deadline and also sought the return of his deposit.

Debt Repayment

The landowner, who chose to remain anonymous, countered Chakkrit’s claims. Having acquired the land as debt repayment, their initial cost was 5 million baht. Selling at 8.8 million baht would result in no profit. They also accused Chakkrit of falsely announcing the land purchase without fulfilling the agreed payment schedule and cited several accumulated issues as reasons for not proceeding with the sale.

A devotee, 54 year old Nopphruj Suwannakarn, expressed his sadness over the potential relocation of the Thao Wessuwan statue. He vowed to continue his support through donations, as he has witnessed the genuine intent to help the needy by providing free funeral services without expecting anything in return since the organization’s establishment, reported Sanook.

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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