Police Face Criticism After Body Left In Street For Hours

Dead Body In Street

Police have appealed for public understanding amid outcry over the delay in collecting a body, one of three, found in the streets in Phra Nakhon district on Tuesday night.

Two had contracted COVID-19 with test results pending on the third, Metropolitan Police Bureau spokesman Piya Tawichai said.

The sight of a body shrouded in white cloth and lying on the street uncollected for almost 12 hours in Ban Phan Thom of Phra Nakhon district sparked public criticism.

The man was identified as Somkiat Ruenkao, 50, a car park attendant at Wat Bowon Niwet. Police received a call about the man who had fainted on the street at 11am on Tuesday.

Paramedics and rescuers arrived later with oxygen. They tried in vain to revive the man, prompting the police to call forensic experts from Vajira Hospital to examine the body. The Por Teck Tung foundation collected the body at 10pm and brought it to Vajira Hospital for an autopsy. The man had COVID-19, the spokesman said.

Pol Maj Gen Tawichai said information on social media, including a message that the body had been left unattended for hours, was untrue and caused authorities to be misunderstood. The spokesman said police were alerted about 6.30pm to a second body, that of Seri Ruengrojanarit, 59, from Rayong, found on Ratchadamnoen Avenue.

Vajira Hospital forensic officials arrived to examine the body at 7.15pm and the Por Teck Tung rescuers delivered it shortly afterwards to the hospital where a COVID-19 test was performed and the result was pending.

The third body, identified by police as Bangpot Jermjenkarn, 81, was discovered in Wat Suthat Thepphawararam in Sao Chingcha area at 7.30pm. The forensic team from the Police General Hospital arrived to collect the body at 9pm. Tests confirmed he was infected with COVID-19.

Pol Maj Gen Tawichai admitted there was some delay in collecting the bodies. However, he insisted officials had not neglected their duties.