DNA centers set up to help identify victims

PHUKET: The Scientific Crime Detection Division (SCDD) of the Royal Thai Police has set up three centers in Phuket and one in Krabi to facilitate the collection of DNA samples from relatives of missing people in an effort to identify the victims of the tsunami.

Wachira Phuket Hospital and Patong Hospital, and Phuket City Hall are the island’s sampling centers, while Krabi Meritime Hotel is the mainland center.

A doctor speaking from Krabi, who identified himself only as Dr Ongkarn, said that the procedure was simple, requiring either a mouth swab or a hair sample to be taken from worried relatives.

“Samples have also been carefully taken from the deceased, and forensic specialists have already begun the process of trying to match up samples,” he said.

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All samples will be sent to the SCDD headquarters in Bangkok for mapping, matching and storage.

Telephone numbers for the centers are as follows, with working hours in brackets:

Wachira Phuket Hospital 66 (0) 4-7746070

Phuket City Hall 66 (0) 6-5083857

Krabi Meritime Hotel (special call center) 66 (0) 75-620028-46

National Police Office, Forensic Science Division, Bangkok 66 (0) 2-2051744, 66 (0) 2-2527930

English-speaking staff are manning the phones and the centers.

Sompong Boonsri, an officer from Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organization explained that all the bodies currently stored at the Sea Gipsy cemetery at Mai Khao have been tagged with as much idenitfying information as possible and that records will be kept until such a time as identification can be made.

K. Sompong reiterated the statement made yesterday by Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula (see Gazette story here) that no bodies will be buried or cremated until they have been identified.

Phuket News
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