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Spooky incidents at the Labour Ministry’s Bangkok headquarters prompted a ritual exorcism on Thursday aimed at freeing trapped spirits of the deceased and shielding civil servants from further disturbances.
Narongsak Khukittirat from the Chaopor Nagaraj Jansen Shrine in Nakhon Sawan, who led the ritual, pointed out that a road cuts right through the compound, which he said allows wandering spirits to manifest paranormal phenomena.
Narongsak, who is known as Ajarn Haew Mordu Thevada, and monks from Wat Cherng Tha in Lop Buri conducted the hour-long ceremony, which Labour Minister Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew and permanent secretary Jarin Chakkaphark attended. It was described as “the ministry’s largest such ritual” ever.
The crowd of 500 observers also included private citizens and migrant workers waiting to be registered at the ministry.
At one point a gust of wind blew out most of the ceremonial candles.
“Many of the civil servants are scared, even my own secretary, but I’m not afraid personally,” Jarin said. “This ceremony is auspicious. It’s a way of paying respect to the supernatural beings living here and telling the wandering spirits they have died and can move on to the next world.”
Jarin said that in 2004 a senior official had committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the main, 15-storey building.
“He was a friend of mine, so I hope this rite will let his spirit know too. We are not driving them out disrespectfully, just informing them they should move on and not remain here scaring people.”
In 2013 an anti-government protester who was shot in a clash with police at nearby Thai-Japanese Din Daeng Stadium ran into the ministry compound, where he succumbed to his wounds.
There was also speculation among observers that the ceremony might be an attempt to overcome “bad luck” afflicting top officials.
Minister Adul was formerly in charge of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, which is now at the centre of a controversy.
Irregularities in the allowance payment to the destitute people were allegedly committed by officials at the centers caring for destitute people are the subject of an ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha criticised the Labour Ministry this week for its “rather slow” progress in registering migrant workers.