By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
The issue over the violation of Si Quey’s dignity became a hot online topic this week after Twitter user @ChangeSiam kicked off a debate over whether Siriraj Medical Museum should stop displaying the corpse along with a label stating that he was a cannibal.
Many netizens echoed in agreement, with over 10,000 putting their names down on an online petition at change.org calling on Siriraj to arrange a proper funeral for Si Quey, granting him some respect after more than 60 years of public humiliation.
They also called on the wider public to stop reproducing unverified rumours about his cannibalistic tendency, and instead seek the truth behind his case so that the infamous suspected serial kill can at last have justice.
Most Thais are familiar with Si Quey and the story of him luring young children out of their homes to kill them and consume their internal organs. This story is perhaps one of Thailand’s most popular urban myths.
In reality, Si Quey was a Chinese migrant who moved to Thailand shortly after the end of World War II. Though he was blamed for the murder of seven children between 1954 and 1958 in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok and Rayong, he was only found guilty of one murder in Rayong.
He was sentenced to death by firing squad in September 1959, and after he was killed, the Siriraj Medical School asked to use his body for autopsy study. Later, the body was embalmed and put on display with the label “cannibal” at Siriraj Medical Museum.
Cross Cultural Foundation president Surapong Kongchantuk said he agrees with granting Si Quey some human dignity, adding that the museum had no right to display somebody’s body without permission.
“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. They have no right to keep the body, not to mention publicly branding him a cannibal,” Surapong said.
“It is not too late for Siriraj to do the right thing by looking for his surviving relatives and returning the body to them. In case no family members can be found, Siriraj should give Si Quey a proper send off based on his religious beliefs.”
Siriraj Hospital’s Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University revealed that dean Dr Prasit Watanapa has acknowledged the issue and will hold a press conference on the subject soon.