By Teernai Charuvastra
SA KAEO — Two women and one man in eastern Thailand are facing charges for forcing their family members and neighbors to strip naked in the street of their village, reportedly on the order of a ghost.
Police said the three suspects claimed they were possessed by a phi pob when they herded seven residents of a village in Khok Soong district into the street at knifepoint on Saturday and told them to take off their clothes.
After the seven victims, including one woman, complied, the three “possessed” perpetrators burned all their clothes to appease the ghost, said Col. Ponglert Srisakrapikupta, commander of Khok Soong Police Station.
Police arrest three suspects reportedly possessed by a ghost known as phi pob Saturday in Sa Kaeo province.
Police were soon alerted, and officers disarmed the three suspects and brought them to the police station, where they were charged with physical assault, unlawful coercion and unlawful detention.
“They said they felt like something heavy fell upon them, and they were unconscious of what they were doing,” Ponglert said Monday. “I don’t know how that could possibly be true.”
The suspects were identified as Thongchai Kan-ob, 50; Srinak Boonnueng, 44; and Pornchai Kan-ob, 42. Ponglert said the victims were either family members or neighbors of the three suspects. He added that some of the victims were slightly wounded during the altercation.
“The victims said they had no choice but to comply with the [suspects’] instruction,” Ponglert said.
Phi Pob is a well-known ghost in folklore, notable for its purported ability to possess humans. Many communities in rural Thailand report sightings or hauntings by phi pob each year.
The three suspects were granted bail Sunday, and they have sought exorcism from a necromancer in Aranyaprathet, Ponglert said over the telephone.