03/23/2022, 15.52
THAILAND
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A mother's battle against university hazing

by Steve Suwannarat

A mother’s quest for justice for her son, Veeraphan Tamklang, who died last year after a beating on a campus, shows police failure to investigate this type of violence, which is often perpetrated by members of high-ranking families.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – A mother’s battle over a murdered son is turning the spotlight on hazing rituals in Thailand’s universities and military schools.

Veeraphan Tamklang died in May 2021 a week after he was taken to hospital for pulmonary embolism following an assault by dozens of fellow students at Rajamangala University of Technology in Tawan-ok, not far from the capital Bangkok.

His mother, 59-year-old Manasnan Tamklang, who lives in north-eastern Thailand, decided not to let the investigation drift into oblivion.

Her struggle for the truth has not only highlighted the police’s failure to look for the culprits but has also brought to public attention the issue hazing of new recruits, a major topic on social media that affects students in both higher education institutions as well as military schools.

She fears that the delays and flaws in the investigation will lead to her son’s death to be swept under the carpet, leaving another unjustified crime unpunished for the umpteenth time.

This is not remote possibility since police have failed in many cases to complete their inquiry when the perpetrators are members of high-ranking families.

Now however, public pressure on civil and military authorities for their incompetence in hazing cases highlights their selectivity and double standards since law enforcement agencies have been quite efficient at cracking down on dissent, violating human rights, imposing censorship, and prosecuting individuals for peaceful protest.

This is also true in the case of Padyos Chonpakdi, who was the victim of a hazing ritual at the start of the academic year at the Nakhon Ratchasima campus of Rajamangala University of Technology. The 19-year-old man was badly beaten in a dry paddy field not far from the campus, and died on 13 March.

In this case, seven of the students involved confessed and were charged with assault, but their families tried to get the victim's father to drop the charges in exchange for compensation equivalent to US$ 15,000. The offer was rejected.

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