Thailand police find 2,000 foetuses in temple

Members of a rescue foundation carry bags of corpses at the mortuary storage room of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok
Image caption Members of a rescue team carry bags of corpses at the mortuary storage room of the Buddhist temple

Thai police say they have found the remains of more than 2,000 foetuses, thought to be from illegal abortions, hidden at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok.

The remains were discovered in the temple's mortuary in containers usually used for bodies awaiting cremation.

Police were alerted by a terrible smell after the temple's furnace broke down.

Two temple workers and a woman believed to have been paid to collect and dispose of foetuses from illegal abortion clinics have been arrested.

The bodies, wrapped in plastic bags, were discovered in a newly opened area of the mortuary, days after authorities found 348 in another room.

A 33-year-old woman has admitted taking money to collect foetuses from several clinics.

She earned just over $16 (£10) for each foetus she delivered to the temple.

Police said two temple workers had been charged with hiding the bodies.

Abortion is illegal in Thailand unless pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or a mother's health is at risk.

Police say they have begun raiding some of the 4,000 clinics in Bangkok they suspect are used to perform illegal abortions.

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Media captionThe remains were found in containers usually used for bodies awaiting cremation

The case has also focused attention on the abortion business in Thailand, says the BBC's Vaudine England, in Bangkok.

Wealthy women can get abortions in safe facilities but the vast majority of Thai women wanting an abortion use clinics which could put their health and safety at great risk, our correspondent says.

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