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Tourists Flock to Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) to View Statue of Former Thai Navy SEAL

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CHIANG RAI – The world famous Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) in Chiang Rai’s Phan district now has a new attraction — the half-finished statue of Lt-Commander Samarn Kunan, the former Thai Navy SEAL member who died during the Tham Luang Cave rescue operation.

The chief sculptor working on the statue, Arjarn Saravuth Kammoonchai, and about ten other northern artists have taken turns to work on the statue since July 24.

Saravuth said that the work on the statue has been progressing up to 60 percent and the next step is to apply finishing touches.  He expected the statue to completed in two months’ time.

He went on to  say that rock sculptors in Mae Sai have volunteered to make the base of the statue out of black granite expected to be completed by yea-rend.

The whole project in memory of all the rescuers, especially Samarn, alias Ja Sam, which includes Samarn’s statue, the canvas painting entitled “The Heroes” which tells a story of the dramatic rescue operation and the pavilion-cum-museum is estimated to cost about 10 million baht.

The project is being funded by national artist Mr Chalermchai Kositpipat and with public donations.

Meanwhile, The 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team who grabbed world’s attention with their ordeal inside Tham Luang cave have finally returned to where they truly belong — their class-rooms.

A ceremony was held at the auditorium of Mae Sai Prasithisart School in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district this morning to welcome them back.

The ceremony was chaired by Somboon Sirivej, the Chiang Rai deputy governor, and attended by representatives of education offices supervising the schools.


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