Elderly Man Mistakingly Declared Dead in 1997 Given New ID

An elderly man mistakenly declared dead in 1997 finally received a national identity card over 20 years after losing his welfare rights as a Thai citizen.

Ong-art Boonyarit, 65, said he had been shocked when he tried to extend his ID at his Nakhon Sawan Muang district home office, but officials denied his request because he was officially registered as dead.

According to official records, a person identified as Chuchart Detkla had filed a request with the Nonthaburi Municipality for a death certificate for Ong-art Boonrit on November 5, 1997. The deceased was allegedly a patient who had died of lung inflammation at Thailand Central Breast Institute.

The man said he didn’t know anyone named Mr. Chuchart. It was also discovered that a funeral for Mr. Ong-art had been held at Wat Mahabut (Mae Nak) in the Phra Khanong district of Bangkok.

The death certificate says that Mr. Ong-art died in 1997. However, no details of his supposed death were known until he attempted to extend his ID 12 years later.

During that period, the man was officially dead, and his identification card was invalid. Consequently, he lost all rights as a Thai citizen, including his monthly old-age pension and state welfare benefits.

Mr. Ong-art filed a complaint with the Nonthaburi Municipality to revoke the death certificate, but the case was not resolved. Recently, the 65-year-old man sought legal support from the Nakhon Sawan Damrongtham Center, and a corresponding investigation was launched.

On July 24, the Muang district chief Narongchai Jindapan and officials from the Damrongtham Center went to Mr. Ong-art’s home to retrieve information from his wife and children to confirm his identity. They then asked officials from the Bang Bua Thong district in Nonthaburi to investigate the case and invite Mr. Chuchart to give a statement.

On Monday, Provincial Governor Chayan Sirimas visited Mr. Ong-art and confirmed that his death certificate would be revoked so that he would be given a new ID on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Mr. Ong-art received his new ID accompanied by his wife and officials from the Phra Non Tambon administration organization at the Muang District Office.

Mr. Narongchai then confirmed that Mr. Chuchart, the man who applied for the death certificate, was an official from the Chese Central Institute morgue.

On November 5, 1997, a man named Ong-art Boonyarit died, and Mr. Chuchart went to the Nonthaburi Municipality office to report the death. However, the application form was not completed, and the space for the identification number was left blank.

When the reported death was stored in the domicile registration system, the wrong identification number was filled in by mistake, the Muang district chief explained.