Si Ouey, the man known as Thailand’s first serial killer, was cremated after being on display at a museum for 60 years.
The executed killer’s body had been on display in a glass case at Bangkok’s Sirijaj Medical Museum – nicknamed the “Museum of Death” – for decades before activists began calling for Si Ouey to be given a proper funeral, the Associated Press reported. He was cremated Thursday after Buddhist monks chanted prayers and placed paper flowers at the coffin.
For decades, the corpse of a serial killer said to have a taste for human flesh was displayed at a Bangkok museum. A campaign was launched to give him a proper burial because the truth about his case was difficult to confirm. On Thursday, he was cremated. https://t.co/Qfivk5g8im
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 23, 2020
Si Ouey, a Chinese immigrant who arrived in Thailand when he was 19, was accused of murdering several children and eating their organs after he was allegedly caught burning an 8-year-old boy’s body in 1958. Newspaper accounts from the time reported grueling details about how he ate the organs of his victims, according to the Associated Press. The alleged killer was executed in 1959 by the firing squad. (RELATED: 93-Year-Old Former Nazi Concentration Camp Guard Convicted Of Aiding The Murder Of 5,232 People In Juvenile Court)
Activists started a campaign to give him a proper funeral and remove him from the museum after doubts were raised about his guilt.
Several documentaries pointed out issues with the evidence, like the fact that one of the alleged victims of cannibalism still had her organs. Police at the time were known for beating prisoners until they confessed, and anti-Chinese sentiment was popular among Thailand’s government, the Associated Press reported.
Pharaoh Chakkraphattranan saw one of the documentaries questioning Si Ouey’s guilt and started an online petition in 2018 to give him a funeral.
“I felt different looking at him” after seeing the documentary, Chakkraphattranan said according to the Associated Press. “Before I just thought I was looking at a man-eater, now I see a victim who was stripped of his rights and dignity. Whether or not he committed the crime, his body shouldn’t be displayed in the glass box.”
Surapong Kongchantuk, president of the human rights organization Cross Cultural Foundation, said last May that it’s not right to keep Si Ouey’s body on display, The Nation Thailand reported.
“In principle, Siriraj has to return Si Quey’s body to members of his family or his guardian so they can arrange a proper funeral for him,” he said. “They have no right to keep the body, not to mention publicly branding him a cannibal.”
Last June, the sign calling Si Ouey a cannibal was removed. The museum removed his body from the public display last August, then announced this month that he would be cremated.