St. Paul group goes to Thailand for answers on Hmong grave desecrationby Marisa Helms, Minnesota Public Radio
A delegation from St. Paul's Hmong community will head to Thailand later this month to investigate the desecration of hundreds of Hmong graves in that country.
St. Paul, Minn. — In 2005, a videotape surfaced showing workers in Thailand exhuming Hmong graves at the Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp, dismembering bodies, removing the bones, and throwing the remains into open graves.
The site is a Buddhist monastery, where officials have said the graves were contaminating the water supply.
The news shocked the local Hmong community.
The exhumations prompted St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to send a four-person delegation to Thailand to explore options for helping families affected by the desecration.
Delegate Va-magn Thoj is a policy associate with the Coleman administration. He says the Thai government is open to meeting with the St. Paul group.
"The governor of the province where the remains are had a meeting with the organizations that are holding the remains, and the organizations agreed to meet with us and to discuss how to reclaim the remains," says Thoj. "So at least at the provincial level, the Thai government has agreed to receive the delegation."
The group also includes State Sen. Mee Moua and community activist Yee Chang.
A group called the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent raised the estimated $20,000 dollars to pay for the trip. The delegation will travel to Thailand from Sept. 21-29.