The Bodysnatchers of Bangkok | Guardian Investigations

SHOT BYChris Kelly




The bodysnatchers of Bangkok: Thailand’s volunteer emergency service. Unlike the UK or US, Thailand operates on a two-tier emergency support system, sending out volunteers, or ‘basic teams’, to accident or crime scenes first, and only then an advanced life-support ambulance if needed.

These ‘basic teams’ provide a vital service and account for about 60% of the emergency cases Bangkok’s hospitals see every year. Most Thais believe that helping others be it the injured or dead allows one to earn karmic merit. Here we spend the night with Pom Noppadon, one of Bangkok’s many volunteer body-collectors – also known as bodysnatchers.

Shot on the D800 with a Sigma 35 1.4 ART lens

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