Relatives have confirmed the body found in the Chao Phraya River in late December was the missing Japanese tourist Sonamu Tsuboi, 22, and said he would be cremated in Thailand.
The parents, aged 57 and 47, as well as the 24-year-old girlfriend of the Japanese man, arrived at the riverside Siriraj hospital in Bangkok to identify the body found at the nearby Wang Lang pier on Dec 30.
Accompanying them was Pisit Maiprasert, a consular assistant at the Japanese embassy, who said they were confident that the body was of Tsuboi. They also had no doubts about the cause of death as there was no sign of physical assault on the body.
Mr Pisit quoted a close friend of Tsuboi as saying that the man had appeared depressed and wanted to be alone before his disappearance. He had reportedly been missing on Dec 27.
The family members would take a few days to prepare documents to receive the body. A cremation would then be held at a temple in Thailand before the ashes are brought to Japan for further religious ceremonies, Mr Pisit said.
Assoc Prof Dr Wisut Fongsiripaibul, chief of the Forensic Medicine Department of Siriraj Hospital, said two tattoos on the left ankle and the left side of the body matched the reported identity of Tsuboi. The relatives could fetch the body when documents are ready although the official result of the autopsy would be released in about a week, he said.
The department received the body from the Bang Kholaem police station at about 23:00 on Dec 30, the district chief said.
Pol Col Anek Praisri, chief of Bang Kholaem police, said Tsuboi was last seen in camera footage near Bang Lamphu intersection. Police had not obtained any other picture that could confirm whether Tsuboi had been murdered or committed suicide by jumping into the Chao Phraya River.
He also asked people to hand Tsuboi’s rucksack if anyone found it, saying it contained the man’s passport and air ticket.
According to an earlier report, Tsuboi arranged to meet his girlfriend in Thailand during a break from his work in Australia.
He would meet her at Suvarnabhumi airport on Jan 7 but, on the night of Dec 27, the two talked on the phone and Tsuboi was said to have told her not to come to Thailand.
Tsuboi spoke in a tone his relatives described as “suspicious”, they said, adding his girlfriend eventually came to Thailand but did not see him.
His family were worried because what happened was unusual. They described him as a friendly and responsible man who loved travelling to new places.
They had no idea of what was behind the disappearance.
They decided to come to Thailand on Jan 18 and began their search for Tsuboi in many areas, including Mae Hong Son’s Pai district where Tsuboi had told them he enjoyed the natural setting.
Tsuboi arrived in Thailand in early December last year. It was his second time in the country after a trip to the North two years ago.
His relatives said he came to Thailand with Japanese friends, but while his friends went back home after the journey, Tsuboi decided to stay on, though he booked air tickets to return home with his girlfriend on Jan 12.
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