Widow seeks help to bring husband’s body back from South Korea
A THAI woman whose husband committed suicide in South Korea has pleaded for financial help to bring his body home. The couple from Buri Ram’s Krasang district had originally borrowed money to buy tickets to visit South Korea last year, and stayed there to work illegally.
However, as they were facing hardship, the husband, Wansin Boonklang, 40, sent his wife, Om Wongchan, 40, back home, while he continued to try to make a living in Korea.
Om, who has three children to support, was notified by the South Korean Embassy last week that Wansin had committed suicide by hanging. Om said the family could not afford to bring back her husband’s body for religious rites in Buri Ram.
She said that the couple had borrowed Bt150,000 from a bank to pay for their Bt40,000 tour package and repay other debts before they left for South Korea on December 11.
They skipped the tour and, with Bt40,000 cash in their pockets, went to find work. Their high hopes ran low after a week of staying in a hotel, facing high living costs, she said.
Wansin felt sorry for her, so he sent her back to Thailand while he remained in Korea with only Bt15,000 in his pocket.
Om cited phone calls in which Wansin said he had a job but had not been paid because the employer knew of his illegal status and took advantage of it. Wansin also had to skip meals while his cash was running low.
“I felt sorry for my husband, but I didn’t know what to do because we couldn’t afford his return ticket,” she said.
Last Thursday, she received a phone call from the South Korean Embassy saying that Wansin had hanged himself along a roadside.
“I was in shock. I never thought this could happen to our family. We were trying to borrow money from an unofficial source for his return ticket. I never thought he would kill himself first,” she said tearfully.
“My family is in ruins. My breadwinner is gone, and I have a debt to repay and three children to take care of. I also want to bring my husband’s body back for a funeral,” she said.
A ray of hope emerged when a Thai woman with a South Korean husband contacted her offering to help coordinate the return of the body.
She also warned others to think twice about going to work illegally in South Korea. “A beautiful dream you have for a good life from that journey can turn into a hellish nightmare,” she said, adding that many Thai illegal workers were being taken advantage of by Korean employers.
Thai authorities have warned citizens about the danger of working illegally in South Korea without benefits and healthcare. The Thai Embassy in Seoul also warned people of freezing cold temperatures, dropping to minus-10 degrees Celsius.
Embassy officials said 66 Thais had died in the country last year, mainly from illnesses related to extreme cold, as well as stroke, heart failure, pneumonia and sudden nocturnal death syndrome.