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Thailand turns to prisoners to find tsunami dead
BANGKOK, - Thailand, facing its worst natural disaster in living memory, has drafted short-term prisoners to help retrieve the thousands of bodies strewn along its Andaman Sea beaches by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

About 50 men jailed for petty crimes and serving less than two years have volunteered for the gruesome task of finding bodies decomposing rapidly in the tropical heat, a senior corrections department official said on Saturday..

"For each day they search for corpses, their terms will be reduced by two days, " Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanjana told reporters.

The official said it was common for short-term prisoners to be asked to volunteer for public works, but they normally won only one day off their sentences for each day of work.

The volunteers from seven prisons in the south were accompanied by 15 prison guards, he said. (Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan, editing by Michael Battye; Reuters Messaging nopporn.wong-anan.reuters.com@reuters.net;+662 648-9739))

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All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff