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Less than a month ago, I wrote about Thai newspapers' penchant for front-page gore.
Now this industry standard practice — of publishing mangled corpses on the front page — has Thailand's most popular daily paper and "Kill Bill" actor David Carradine's family in something of a culture clash.
First, a disclaimer. The recently published photo of Carradine, suspended from a clothes-hanging bar in a hotel closet, is possibly fake.
Legit or not, it's important to understand that the Thai press could quite easily score this type of photo.
How? Through the backdoor trade of crime scene photos, from law enforcement to reporters. Thai Rath, the outlet that published the photo, is already an impressive news-breaking paper. But when it comes to crime scenes, they're guaranteed to get the photo scoop — likely from the digital camera of an officer in their employ, as is often alleged.
Like so many front-page crime scene photos, this shot has no cutline.
The family of a Thai star would likely feel dismay if their loved one's corpse was published on the front page — but they wouldn't be surprised.
P.S. — Just as I'm finishing up this post, I've read a column in the Bangkok Post about a prior Thai Rath transgression: printing a photo of nearly nude murder victim. Columnist Sanitsuda Ekachai writes that readers flipped out, demanded an apology ... and got one. She adds that the front pages of Thai papers were actually much worse in prior years.