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Police recover 2,002 illegally aborted fetuses in Thailand

From Kocha Olarn, CNN
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Fetuses found at Thai temple
  • NEW: Police think the fetuses have accumulated for a year
  • NEW: Three people have been charged in the case
  • The fetuses were discovered at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok
  • Abortion is illegal in Thailand, unless a woman is endangered by pregnancy or was raped
  • Bangkok
  • Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- More than 2,000 illegally aborted fetuses have been recovered at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thai police said Friday.

The fetuses were initially discovered earlier in the week, given away by the smell of decay at the Phai-nguern Chotinaram temple in central Bangkok. Friday's recovery efforts brought the total discovered to 2,002 fetuses, police Col. Metee Rakpan said.

"From the confession of one of the morticians of the temple that we interrogated last night, he told us that they received these fetuses from the same places as the first lot of 348 fetus remains, and they became dry," said Col. Sombat Milintachinda, chief of the investigation team. "We think that they might have arrived here about a year ago."

Authorities had arrested a woman on two charges, Milintachinda said.

"One is to perform illegal abortions and open an unlicensed clinic," he said.

Two morticians had been charged with hiding bodies and faced about a year in jail if convicted, police added.

Temples in Thailand typically have morticians who prepare bodies for cremation.

"From our interrogation of the morticians, they admitted that they have been receiving fetuses for about four years, and they told us that they kept the fetuses until they dried up, so it is easy to burn them," Milintachinda said.

The fetuses came from illegal abortion clinics, police Lt. Col. Chusak Kumsai said Wednesday.

Abortion is illegal in Thailand, unless a woman is endangered by pregnancy or has been raped.