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Cult Leader Released on Bail, Temple Ordered Demolished

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Cult Leader Released on Bail While His Temple Ordered Demolished

A cult leader has been released on bail after being arrested after police discovered 11 dead bodies in coffins at a make-shift temple in central, northeastern Thailand.

Police are now making further inquiries to find out who may have been involved in keeping 11 dead bodies found on Sunday at a cult temple in Chaiyaphum.

The 75-year-old cult leader, identified as Mr. Tawee Nanra, was arrested following complaints that he spread superstitious beliefs and offered non-scientific treatments for various illnesses to patients visiting his temple.

On Monday, Mr. Tawee was released on 50,000 baht bail, which was paid by his brother, Mr. Thongthip Nanra,62.

Initial charges against Mr. Tawee included encroachment on public property, violating the Medicine Act, transferring corpses, and holding illegal gatherings under the emergency decree.

Kraisorn Kongchalad, the governor of Chaiyaphum, announced on Tuesday that he had formed an inspection panel to investigate how local authorities had remained unaware of such macabre activities.

Kraisorn has also told the cult’s followers to leave the premises, and a demolition notice was posted outside.

Cult Temple Ordered Demolished

An initial aerial reconnaissance by GPS placed the temple in a forest area, which is considered encroachment, according to Saroj Boonprom, the Khon San Forest protection unit chief.

Mr. Saroj said the investigation would take another three or four days.

Post-mortems have already been conducted at Khon San Hospital for the 11 corpses found at the scene. The bodies will be returned to their families.

Mr. Tawee, known by his followers as a Phra Bida or “spiritual father,” convinced followers that he could cure sickness by drinking and eating his urine and excrement.

According to officers on the scene, he also prepared ya dong, herbal medicine that included animal hair, bones, and coconut shells.

Meanwhile, at a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called the behavior of Mr. Tawee and his followers “Disgusting.”

At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul said that followers called Mr. Tawee Phra Bida; however, the psychiatric hospital staff would simply call him Mr. as he has never been legally ordained as a monk.

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