Lt Col Akkaradet Pongprom of the Phuket City Police reported that a formal complaint about the photos was filed by local resident Kittisak Siangsalak, 41, at about 10am this morning (July 30).
The photos were shared by the local political activist group ‘Phuket Free Youth’ through their Facebook page last night.
The photos showed white funeral shrouds spattered with blood specifically located throughout well-known tourist areas in the Old Phuket Town district.
“The number of dead cases [from COVID-19] is not just a number, they are people. They may be loved ones or people who have made a contribution to the country, but those in positions of authority cannot do anything to resolve this problem,” said the post accompanying the photos.
“We want to give our condolences and sympathies to them [the victims of COVID-19]. This is an exhibition, not using real dead bodies. If the government takes too slow to solve the problem, there will be more photos like these coming out with real dead bodies #Phuketfree #Kongjacharoen,” the post added.
Lt Col Akkaradet accepted the complaint, to which he noted, “The post gained much attention and was widely shared, so the post can cause misunderstanding and damage the image of Phuket which can be considered entering false information into a computer network. The post is likely to affect the stability of the country and make people panic.”
Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Aganit Danpitaksat this morning told the press, “Right now, police are examining whether the photos were taken from the actual location or just edited photos to create fake new.
“I would like to ask for some time to investigate the photos. However, from my initial examination the photos appeared to be edited by cutting parts of other photos and adding them to other photos. They may have created the photos without thinking [things through],” Col Aganit said.
The Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) today branded the post as “fake news” and posted its own reply saying there were no dead bodies left lying on the streets of Phuket Town.
“From the post which explained that there are a lot of dead cases on the roads in Phuket, officers from the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) have already checked and confirmed that the situation has not happened,” the PR Phuket post said.
“The post has caused severe damage to the image of Phuket Tourism,” the post added.
The photos causing concern in Phuket follow Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha via his @prayutofficial Facebook page ordering responsible agencies to take action against individuals spreading fake news about COVID-19, which might cause public confusion during the pandemic.