From The Washington Post
BANGKOK, Thailand -- A crowd of thousands waiting to buy purportedly magical amulets erupted into a stampede that killed one woman and injured dozens Monday, police said.
More than 10,000 people had camped overnight outside a school to buy the Jatukam Ramathep amulets, which have gained a huge following in recent months for what are believed to be their magical qualities.
Thais crowd at the stairs of an auditorium at a school as they compete to buy amulets in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, southern Thailand Monday, April 9, 2007. A 50-year-old woman was killed and dozens of people injured when the crowd stampeded during a sale of a popular talisman supposed to bring good fortune.
The 50-year-old woman was trampled when the crowd rushed the school gates Monday morning, said police Lt. Suriyon Kaemthong, a police lieutenant in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, 360 miles south of Bangkok.
Many Thais carry or wear amulets for good luck. The amulets usually show images associated with Buddhism - the religion of most Thais - though amulets are not formally part of its doctrine. There is a large collectors' market, and rare amulets reportedly command prices of more than $30,000.
The Jatukam Ramathep amulets are round, ranging in size from a penny to a silver dollar, and come in a variety of colors, including bronze, silver and clay.
They're named after a Brahmin deity, the skilled warrior prince of an ancient Southern Thai kingdom who is depicted on the amulet in a seated position. People believe the amulet can bring good luck, and protect them from evil and violent attacks including gunshots and knife wounds.
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