Update: Officials said on Thursday afternoon the man tested positive for marijuana use and claimed to be acting on orders from the Sun God.
BANGKOK — Police said Thursday a man who blocked traffic to release two cobras in front of a shopping mall yesterday was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.
Real estate businessman Ganeshpisnuthep Jakphopmahadecha, 42, will be charged with at least three offenses for his antics, which brought rush hour traffic to a standstill in the heart of Bangkok, according to the officer in charge of the local police station.
“Based on questioning of the perpetrator’s family, he was stressed,” Col. Kampol Rattanapratheep said. “But we still don’t know his motives.”
The policeman said Ganeshpisnuthep is currently held at Somdet Chaopraya Hospital in western Bangkok, and police will file charges of littering, blocking traffic and carrying weapon “after he recovers.”
Ganeshpisnuthep was also treated for over 20 blade wounds that he inflicted upon himself during the standoff, police said. Media reports describe him as a Thai-Indian businessman who has invested in multiple hotels and resorts.
The chaos started about 6.30pm yesterday when Kanespisanuthep parked his car in the middle of a busy road right in front of CentralWorld, before scattering flowers about the area. He also placed portraits of King Vajiralongkorn on his vehicle.
Onlookers were then horrified to see Ganeshpisnuthep release two snakes – later identified as cobras – before cutting himself with a knife. Police later arrived at the scene and tackled him, but not before images of the incident went viral on social media.
An online search suggests it was far from the first time Ganeshpisnuthep behaved erratically in public. He has previously been spotted praying and shouting about his loyalty to the monarchy in shopping malls around Bangkok.
Police Col. Kampol added that the two vipers cut loose by Ganeshpisnuthep were eventually rescued and delivered safely to a Red Cross snake farm nearby.