BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai police arrested a British citizen on Friday after the bodies of six babies thought to have been used in a black magic ritual were found stuffed into travel bags in a Bangkok hotel room.
Chow Hok Kuen, 28, a British citizen born in Hong Kong of Taiwanese parents, was arrested in Bangkok’s Chinatown and was being held for possession of human remains, police said.
Authorities believe he was trying to smuggle the corpses to Taiwan.
“The bodies are of children between the ages of two and seven months. Some were found covered in gold leaf,” Wiwat Kumchumnan, sub-division chief of the police’s Children and Women Protection unit, told Reuters.
It was not clear where the bodies came from.
Kuen was staying at a hotel in Khao San Road, Bangkok’s backpacker area, but the bodies were found in a separate hotel.
Police had received a tip-off that infant corpses were being offered to wealthy clients through a website advertising black magic services.
The corpses were bought from a Taiwanese national for 200,000 baht ($6,400) and could have been sold for six times that amount in Taiwan, police said.
Black magic rituals are still practiced in Thailand, where street-side fortune tellers offer ceremonies to reverse bad luck.
Kuen faces one year in prison and a 2,000 baht fine if he is found guilty.
($1 = 31.4400 baht)
Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Alan Raybould and Robert Birsel