Thailand: Bangkok's Car Cemetery

22 images Created 29 Dec 2015

According to a 2014 study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute Thailand ranks number 2 in the world for road fatalities, narrowly second only to Namibia. The report found a frightening 44 road deaths were recorded per 10,000 population. The high accident rate is often attributed to reckless driving, including driving while intoxicated, and lack of safety precautions such as wearing a helmet on motorbikes. A WHO report indicated that 26 percent of road deaths in Thailand involve alcohol.

The sheer number of crashed vehicles is so high that police now hold auctions to sell off the vehicles, either not wanted by their owner or beyond repair, and it has become a good business. But the auctions are a relatively new phenomenon where previously cars would be kept at police stations until the legal case is complete and then deposited at a collection site.

On the outskirts of Bangkok in a scruffy suburb is one such depository. Dubbed ‘the car cemetery’ by locals it was where many of Bangkok’s damaged wrecks would end up if no-one else wanted to them. But the site has also taken on another reputation; that of being one of the most haunted places in the city, third to be precise according to a local TV station. Thai’s are very superstitious people and most believe in ghosts or spirits. Here it was believed that the spirits of those killed in the crashes remained with the vehicles they died in. Many a passerby or taxi driver have stories of people in and around the compound who then simply vanishing. Locals became so frightened of the place that a group of Thai Buddhist monks from a nearby temple were invited in to perform a ritual exorcism to release the spirits.

With most crashed cars now being bought at the auctions the car cemetery doesn’t receive new vehicles anymore but many of the old ones remain surrounded by weeds and covered in rust. Grotesque relics and unwanted wrecks in a country where far to many people die unnecessarily on the road.
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