A Sri Lankan man threatened self-immolation in front of the United Nations office on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Tuesday afternoon as he demanded asylum in the United States.

Kaevanumtam Devakumar, 37, who was with his wife and four children, a son and three daughters, went to the gate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office to demand they be allowed refuge in the US. 

Mr Devekumar, who looked highly tense, soaked himself with gasoline from a 10 litre-container and threatened to burn himself to death if his request was turned down. The man said he feared UN officials would send him and his family back to war-torn Sri Lanka after their asylum certificates expire on Nov 1.

A UN representative talked to him for an hour before promising that the agency would see if his asylum application met the UNHCR’s criteria. Mr Devakumar was taken to hospital where authorities calmed him before sending him and his family back to the Bangkok Refugee Centre in Inthamara Soi 35.

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