- The police in Thailand have arrested Thawee Nanra, 75, a self-professed holy man.
- Thawee was said to lead a group whose members drank his urine and consumed his excrement.
- Thai police said 11 corpses were found in Thawee’s jungle dwelling.
The police in Thailand have arrested a self-touted holy man whose band of followers were said to have consumed his urine and phlegm as a cure for illnesses.
Thawee Nanra, 75, was arrested on Sunday at his jungle-dwelling in Chaiyaphum, northeastern Thailand, according to the Associated Press. A Reuters video showed police placing a shirtless and bearded Thawee in a vehicle while his supporters tangled with other officers.
The Thai police also confirmed to the AP that they had found around 11 corpses – believed to be Thawee’s followers – at the campsite. The Thai Enquirer reported that Thawee’s campsite had been raided on local land encroachment charges and COVID-19 violations before the corpses were discovered.
According to reporting from The Bangkok Postthe corpses had been placed in coffins while death certificates were found for only five of the bodies.
Speaking to the AP, provincial governor Kraisorn Kongchalad said that around a dozen people were found living with Thawee at the dwelling when it was raided.
“It’s quite disturbing to see that there are people who believe in such superstition. But this is not only about a personal belief anymore. We have dead bodies, and we will have to work with all agencies to establish facts surrounding these individuals,” Kraisorn told the AP.
Thai news site The Nation reported that Thawee claimed to be the “father of all religions.” According to the outlet, a local celebrity shaman called Mor Pla had led law enforcement to the campsite, where authorities attempted to locate an 80-year-old woman who had visited Thawee and never returned.
The missing woman’s daughter, Jenjira, told The Nation that she heard Thawee’s followers were instructed to consume urine, mucus, and feces to cure themselves of diseases.
According to The Nation, Thawee’s followers claimed to the authorities during his arrest that they thought he was the “Father” and “God” and consumed his urine and excrement in front of the police.
A snippet from a local television report on the group showed a reported member of the group saying that there was no odor from the human waste, claiming that “only those with a tainted mind” would sense a bad smell.
Thawee is currently being held at the local Khon San police station, per The Nation.