Fortunate fellow crashes own cremation ceremony

CHAI NAT: Attending your own cremation – as in actually turning up alive, rather than making a brief appearance stuffed in a box before being burned – would be an interesting experience.

Think about it, you could hear the good points of your personality extolled in a eulogy and see who looked genuinely upset – and who looked secretly pleased.

A 45-year-old man in Sapphaya district had exactly that opportunity on September 14, when he turned up in the middle of his cremation just before “his body” was to be cremated.

Samreng Numreut had disappeared from his home a few months earlier. This in itself was not unusual. K. Samreng’s sister, Sopha Namthongchai, 46, said that her younger brother was “not quite all there”.

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He was in the habit of leaving home for weeks at a time and he would usually turn up at the home of one of their relatives, she said.

On August 16, Sapphaya District Police contacted the family to say that a body matching K. Samreng’s description had been found by the side of the Asia highway in Tambon Phonamdamok.

The unfortunate man had been hit by a car, leaving his face unrecognizable. Officers took a photo of the body to show K. Samreng’s relatives. Despite the lack of a face, everything else seemed to match K. Samreng – the height and build were identical. He was wearing a blue shirt and shorts, just the attire K. Samreng favored.

The corpse even had shorts held up with a piece of red string and a tattoo of a leaping tiger on his stomach – again, just like K. Samreng. The only noticeable difference was that the corpse was wearing underwear, whereas K. Samreng was known to eschew briefs.

Despite the discrepancy, police persuaded the family that the similarities were too striking – and K. Samreng could easily have picked up a pair of pants during his travels.

The case apparently closed, the grieving K. Sopha claimed the body and began arranging her brother’s cremation. It was a grand event, as no expense had been spared on the ceremony.

Just as the presiding monk was leading the final prayers before cremation, in walked – you guessed it – K. Samreng, curiously questioning attendees about the reason for the lavish ceremony.

At first, his presence caused shock among the mourners, who were convinced that a ghost of the departed walked among them.

After the initial shock, however, they realized the confused figure was no ghost, but the real flesh-and-blood K. Samreng.

“I spent more than 10,000 baht on the cremation,” K. Sopha said. “I don’t know who the body belongs to, but I’m glad to get my little brother back.

Lt Phaithoon Yuakthong, Duty Officer at Sapphaya District Police Station, said that K. Samreng’s timely appearance means that officers will have to start another hunt for the dead man’s relatives.

If anyone has lost a relative in the area, they are encouraged to come and look at photos of the faceless corpse at the station, he added.

Thailand News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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