Bangkok blast: Victims' families angry over 'red tape'

Bangkok blast: Victims' families angry over 'red tape'
Relatives of Chinese victims from Monday's deadly blast cry at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Bangkok.
PHOTO: Reuters

BANGKOK - Some of the relatives of those killed in Monday's bombing at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok have already collected the remains of their loved ones from the Police General Hospital's Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM).

But the IFM has had to defend itself from criticism from some of the families of foreign victims about the overly complicated and drawn out process of recovering the remains of their loved ones.

The remains of up to 11 foreign victims have been returned to their families since yesterday.

The bombing at the Hindu shrine at the Ratchaprasong Intersection on Monday evening killed 20 people and injured more than 100 others.

"We are in the process of conducting DNA tests on two bodies," IFM chief Pol Maj General Pornchai Sutheerakun said on Wednesday.

For Thais, the relatives of victims have to produce ID cards and housing registration for themselves and their dead loved ones, said Pairoj Damban, of the institute's PR office.

Officials will issue death reports that the relatives must present to police, who will in turn hand over documents indicating the cause of death. The families must take the documents to their district offices to be issued with death certificates, which they will need to show to the institute when they collect the bodies.

For foreigners, the families must notify their embassies and get official documents to prove their relationship to the deceased. Then they can contact the IFM with the documents and copies of passports of the deceased and of themselves. Officials will complete death reports that the families must present to police, who will issue more documents indicating the cause of death. The families then must take the documents to the relevant district offices to be issued with death certificates, which need to be shown to the institute when the bodies are collected.

Pairoj responded to criticism from some of the families that the process to collect the bodies was too complicated by saying that the institute did not want to have legal problems in cases where the deceased have lots of assets.

Meanwhile, the government will provide compensation to the families of those killed in the bombing.

The Justice Ministry will pay Bt100,000 (S$3934) to the families of each victim.

The families of each foreign victim will also be entitled to Bt300,000 in compensation from the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

Pol Colonel Naras Savestanan, director-general of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, yesterday visited the IFM to personally hand over compensation to the families of the deceased foreigners.

His department also dispatched its officials to injured victims and relatives to explain their rights to them.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry has set up a "war room" to handle the aftermath of Monday's bombing.

A list of names everyone killed and injured in the bombing is now available on www.moph.go.th. Relatives can also contact the hotline 02-5901994 around the clock if they need information.

The Public Health Ministry will also make available psychiatrists and psychologists to the victims and relatives to help them cope with their loss. 

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