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Warning: Article contains content that some readers may find upsetting
A cult leader whose followers 'ate his body waste' has been arrested after police found 11 dead bodies in his home. You can watch a video of the raid below:
Yesterday (8 May), police seized the home of 74-year-old Tawee Nanlan, situated in the middle of the jungle in Thailand’s Chaiyaphum province.
The leader, nicknamed Joseph, dubbed himself the ‘father of all religion’, and is said to have forced his followers to drink his urine and eat his faeces, although he claimed this was carried out voluntarily.
Nanlan was swiftly arrested by officers after they discovered the dead bodies, including five coffins outside of the shelter, one of which contained a dead infant.
After he was taken into custody to be questioned by investigators, the leader said: “I didn't force anybody to stay here or do anything they didn't want to.”
The raid came after Khun Jenjira, 53, from Khon Kaen province, told the police that her 80-year-old mother was staying at the residence and was not allowed to return home to visit.
She said: “I went to visit my mother. I saw how women were forced to follow a dress code by wearing a knee-length sarong and men had to wear formal trousers.
“Everybody had to remove their shoes before entering the site.
“But what was even more shocking was that I watched my mother rub the leader’s phlegm on her face and ate the man’s scurf.
“There were 11 dead bodies of the devotees on the premises. My mother had also instructed me to leave her body in the same place.
“'The followers defy all covid rules. They said that, once you have devoted your life to following the man’s teaching, you will be safe from Covid-19.”
As well as claiming his devotees consumed his waste by choice, Nanlan said he had stored the bodies in order to help their spirits return to heaven, which was backed up by one of his followers, named as Mana.
The 45-year-old said: “We have papers showing that the relatives have given consent with a death certificate. Some of them have practiced meditation in this place.
“As for the burial, we follow the process of the medical team. The body is put in a sealed bag and injected with formaldehyde to prevent the corpse from rotting.”
Chaiyaphum province governor Kraisorn Kongchalad said the authorities were shocked after receiving details about the cult, stating: “Police in the area will be taking actions according to the law.
“The group hasn’t been following covid-19 measures, as we found other devotees not wearing masks.
“Officers will seize the 11 bodies to perform an autopsy and find the cause of death. I never knew that in this area there was such a strange meditation sect.
“The cult leader will be prosecuted if found guilty of any crime."
Police Colonel Wattanachai Chanthathum added: “Officers have already confirmed that there are 11 bodies on the premises.
“So far, there were trespassing charges against the religious sect. There will be a thorough investigation so the right legal procedure can be followed.”
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