Justice at Last? Museum Amends Display of Iconic ‘Cannibal’

BANGKOK — A man who has haunted imaginations of Thai children for six decades may soon lose his gruesome reputation as the country’s most well known serial killer.

Citing new interpretation of evidence which suggests Si Quey Sae-Ung was far from a child-eating monster local legends made him to be, a medical museum in western Bangkok said Friday it will no longer identify Si Quey’s embalmed body as that belonging to “a cannibal.”

“We have removed the sign that says ‘cannibal.’ The sign now only contains his name,” said Prasit Watanapa, dean from Siriraj Hospital’s Faculty of Medicine.

The bullet-ridden cadaver of Si Quey, known locally as See Uey, is a famous attraction at Siriraj Forensic Museum. It even outshines the more historically-significant displays like a set of tools used in the autopsy of King Rama VIII, who was killed in a 1946 firearm accident.


He Ate Children: The Serial Killer Who Still Terrorizes Thailand Today

A new exhibition about the trial that sentenced the Chinese immigrant to death in 1959 is also underway, professor Prasit said.

“It will be a source of information and knowledge for visitors to the museum,” the dean said. “They can observe it and judge for themselves. Siriraj Hospital cannot issue any verdict for them.”

Si Quey was arrested in 1958 on suspicion of killing five children and eating their organs. He confessed to the charges and the government put him before the firing squad the following year, though his legend lives on to this day.

However, several documentaries in recent years unearthed new flaws in his trial, including timelines that don’t match with testimonies given in court.


Si Quey’s confession of eating organs was also thrown into doubt when recent studies of police documents revealed that no body part actually went missing from the three bodies that Si Quey was alleged to have killed.

Whether he was really a murderer or a scapegoat caught up in the anti-Chinese sentiment of his day, Dr. Prasit said his body served an immense value to many students of forensic science.

“Every October we organize a merit making ceremony for him,” Prasit said. “We treat him like a family member.”