Man fakes his death on Facebook to con own family out of funeral costs

Netizens are heaping scorn on a Thai man and his wife after they faked his death on Facebook in a bid to scam family members for non-existent funeral costs.

In a story that made national TV last night, Tachawit Janngiw had his wife post three photos of his “dead body” on the social media platform on Sunday. (His nose was even stuffed with what appeared to be cotton, in a gross, if realistic, touch.)  

“Last photo before deactivating his Facebook,” read the caption written by his wife. “Love you.”

When concerned commenters asked what happened, the wife wrote that he died of cancer and asthma (a double whammy!), after suffering for a long time. As to why no one seemed to notice he was deathly ill, that’s because he “pretended he was okay all along,” she insisted.

The wife, who was not identified, even call Tachawit’s mother, demanding that she transfer money.

“His wife called me and said he was dead,” the mom told reporters in a broadcast interview, “She said she didn’t have money to prepare the body, so I sent her money on that same day.”

Grief-stricken, the family wired THB20,000 (US$600) cash to Tachawit’s wife to buy a coffin and rent a vehicle to transport his body back to his hometown in Lampang province. The family contacted a temple and quickly began arranging a funeral for their beloved, whose corpse was meant to arrive the next day.

When neither the body nor his wife showed up, his cousin called Tachawit’s cell phone and, much to their shock, the “dead” guy picked up the phone — then quickly hung up after realizing who it was on the other end. Smooth.

The family had to cancel the funeral service after paying an allegedly unrecoverable THB60,000 (US$1,800).

Despite all this, Tachawit’s confused mother explained to Morning News that she wouldn’t hold this against her son, though she’s cut off all contact with the couple.

Reasonable. A mother can only handle news of her son’s “death” so many times.

Warit Meechochai, Tachawit’s long-time friend and co-worker, on the other hand, told reporters today that everyone in their social circle is aware of Tachawit’s long history of lying and deceit.

In one of the more extreme cases, Warit alleged that Tachawit stole another friend’s wallet when that person was on their way to donate a large sum of money to a temple.

But even for Warit, this latest incident was several steps too far.

“I didn’t think death was something anyone would allege … I mean, even the monks believed him,” he told Amarin TV.

At this point, the couple has gone radio silent on Facebook, though Tachawit’s friends — if they still consider themselves that — continue to leave hateful comments on the page.

Probably no longer a friend is the former classmate who shelled out for a funeral wreath before the truth came out.

“You bastard, we regret going to school with you. We are hurt by this. Don’t ever let me see you again. This wreath is for you. Go to hell.”

According to celebrity lawyer Gerdphol Geawgerd, Tachawit could be charged with both fraud and posting false information onto the computer system, which could result in fines of up to THB160,000 (US$4,800) and/or up to 10 years’ imprisonment.  

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