LOEI: Police arrived at a local village after losing patience with the drunken woman ready to investigate her. They were not prepared to be ferociously attacked by Mrs Waruni for their own tardiness.
Thai police in Loei province discovered this week that a drunk dead person who had been calling 50 times a day was, in fact, a 51-year-old mother of a university graduate driven to despair and alcohol by mulish bureaucrats.
It is one of those stories that can only happen in Thailand and thankfully, it is not a story of some gruesome murder or love gone wrong tragedy, although it has to with death and such an incident in an indirect way.
Police in northern Thailand’s province of Loei this week had had enough. The dedicated 191 police stations throughout the province were reaching the limit of their patience in their dedication to public service with a caller, a woman who sounded intoxicated, who kept phoning the system’s emergency 191 number.
50 nuisance calls a day from a drunken woman
As officers looked into the nuisance calls, they found that they were being made by a phone card that had been defunct for 15 years. The only thing working on the connection was the ability to make 191 calls in an emergency.
Police soon decided that the only option to stop the nuisance calls, at that point numbering 50 contacts a day, was to locate the user, investigate why she was wasting police time and confiscate the phone card.
Loei woman, 51-year-old Mrs Waruni unimpressed when police officers arrived to investigate her
They finally cornered the phone card heckler and identified the culprit as a 51-year-old Mrs Waruni. However, the Thai woman was less than impressed at the indignation of police officers and their charges against her.
In fact, Mrs Waruni lambasted shocked police officers for their tardy response to her calls. She told her perplexed visitors that she had been waiting for them for 15 years.
Police sat down and listened to her at last
Police officers, not slow in recognising a twist in the plot, finally sat the exasperated woman down and heard her out.
It appears that Mrs Waruni was declared dead by Thai authorities 15 years ago.
The move to remove her name from the civil registration list followed an incident in Chonburi in 2005 where a news report emerged that a woman, bearing her name, had been stabbed 11 times in a vicious assault and had died.
Declared dead with no rights and identification
The woman explained to police that the situation had constituted a source of anxiety for her over the 15 years as it meant she could not avail of public services or receive a new identity card.
That is why she had started to phone them. She explained to officers that, in the absence of her official identity, she had no rights in Thailand.
Mr Waruni lived in the area in a small dwelling and had one child who had graduated from university.
Local neighbours vouched for her story
After questioning other locals, police quickly established the veracity of the woman’s story.
It appears that she had given up after she could not get past the local bureaucratic hurdles and red tape to having her name restored to life and new identity card issued.
Local Thai officials insisted on everything being in other and this required a full police report as well as a range of other official documentation.
Never involved in a stabbing incident in Chonburi
The woman apparently suffers from a chronic drink problem but nevertheless, according to locals, she has a pretty good memory.
She is adamant that she never was involved in an altercation in Chonburi province or that she had been stabbed 11 times.
Neighbours told officers that even with the support of her relatives, Mrs Waruni could not move past stubborn local bureaucrats to bring her back to life officially.
After further consultation between the visiting police and the local village chief, he has agreed to take on the challenge and will work with the woman to have identification issue resolved and new ID card issued.