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RTRIOPB 
October 25, 1998 
A Thai devotee is helped to pierce his cheeks with hacksaw blades in the resort island of Phuket, Thailand's... 
Thailand 
A THAI DEVOTEE IS HELPED TO PIERCE HIS CHEEKS WITH HACKSAW BLADES IN PHUKET IN SOUTHERN THAILAND. 
A Thai devotee is helped to pierce his cheeks with hacksaw blades in the resort island of Phuket, Thailand's largest island, October 25. Usually in October, millions of Chinese and Thais begin strict vegetarian diets that will last nine days. Worshippers will walk down the streets of the island expressing their belief in the Chinese Nine Great Emperor Gods by having their tongues, cheeks or other parts of their bodies pierced with anything from iron rods, hacksaw blades, pipes or swordfishes. The bizarre ceremony of piercing and self-torture, fire-walking and knife-ladder climbing remains a spectacular demonstration of one's belief in God.

PDN/CC/JDP 
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