A cult leader in Thailand who allegedly asked his followers to eat his waste, including feces, mucus and dandruff, has been arrested by police in the central province of Chaiyaphum.
Thawee Nanra, 75, claimed to be “the father of all religions” and claimed he could cure disease.
He was arrested on Sunday after police and other local officials raided a forest campsite in Tambon Dong Klang, Khon San district of Chaiyaphum. Many of his supporters shouted and shoved with police officers and chased the car in which he was taken to the police station.
Authorities also found 11 bodies at the scene. Although the reason for their death was not immediately clear, supporters of the cult leader claimed that these people fell ill after being treated by Mr Thawee.
Their bodies were collected for autopsy and further investigation.
Provincial Governor Kraisorn Kongchalard confirmed the arrest and said coffins with bodies were strewn around the house.
“It is quite disturbing to see that there are people who believe in such a superstition, but it is no longer just a personal belief. We have dead bodies and we will need to work with all agencies to establish the facts surrounding these individuals,” he said.
At the time of his arrest, Mr Thawee was reportedly surrounded by 30 middle-aged and elderly supporters who drank his urine and ate his scaly skin in front of officials.
The man was arrested for encroachment on forest land and violation of the Public Health Act and Disease Control Act. Officials may impose other charges on him in the future.
Mr Thawee was held at Khon San police station while dozens of his supporters camped outside, awaiting his release. He was denied bail on Monday, according to local media.
Authorities believe the group had existed for more than four years, benefiting from its anonymity due to the remoteness of Mr Thawee’s home.
However, a resident of Khon Kaen recently approached a social media personality who specializes in exposing unscrupulous characters after her mother who attended the hermitage did not return.
She said she later found out that followers had been asked to eat the mucus, urine, feces and dandruff of the man who was called “the father” because all of his waste could allegedly cure all diseases, The time of the straits reported.
Additional reports by agencies