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BANGKOK: A loan shark found the police were the least of his worries after being detained in a haunted cell.

On September 1, Crime Suppression Division (CSD) officers arrested Sombun Thong-kham, 39, for extortion and unauthorized money lending, and placed him in custody at CSD headquarters on Phahonyothin Rd.

Around 3am the following morning, the duty sergeant heard Mr Sombun screaming for help from his cell.

He went to see what was wrong, and found Mr Sombun shaking and as white as a sheet.

The prisoner told the officer that a ghost had tried to persuade him to kill himself in the cell.

Mr Sombun said he was awoken by someone tapping him on the leg.

He saw a man, aged around 40 and wearing a red shirt, sitting on the end of his bed.

The man told him to get showered and brush his teeth and come and live with him.

Mr Sombun said he was still half asleep and thought it was another prisoner, but as he was falling back to sleep he suddenly remembered he was the only prisoner in the cell.

When he looked around, however, the man had vanished.

Mr Sombun said he put the incident down to being a very vivid dream.

A little later, however, he heard a voice whispering in his ear.

The voice told him to go and take a good look at the cell bars.

It then told him to choose which one he wanted to hang himself from.

The voice said it would show him how to hang himself with a piece of clothing so he could escape punishment for his crimes, Mr Sombun said.

At this point he could take no more and he screamed for help.

Mr Sombun asked the sergeant if he could sleep in another cell. He also asked the sergeant to call a friend to come and sleep outside the cell door as he was too scared to stay by himself.

The next morning, investigating officer Lt Col Sawai Chamlamjiak took the still-terrified Mr Sombun to be detained in another building.

CSD officers said Mr Sombun was not the first prisoner to be ‘visited’ while in that particular cell.

Police had previously cut down three other prisoners who had tried to hang themselves.

One of the rescued men later hung himself at home.

Police said the incidents started after a man arrested for raping his niece hung himself in the cell.

Officers said they had performed a merit-making ceremony to try and make the spirit leave the cell, but it obviously hadn’t worked.