Senior sets junior student on fire in sick Uni hazing ritual in Thailand

Senior students at a famous university in Bangkok sprayed a first-year student with spray paint and set him on fire during a hazing ritual – or initiation ceremony – causing him serious burns on his body and genitals.

Thanaphon [surname reserved], a 19 year old mechanics student, filed a complaint at Bang Phlat Police Station after he was attacked and burned by third-year student Atthaphon [surname reserved] in a horrific initiation ceremony.

The victim said that on October 31 between 4-5pm, senior students invited him and three other first-year students to another student accommodation building in the Charan Sanitwong 68 area for a “rab nong” (“accepting youngers” or initiation) ceremony.

Thanaphon said that a senior nicknamed “Frame” (Atthaphon) called him into the bathroom and ordered him to take off his shirt and cover his eyes. Then, Frame ordered Thanaphon to take off his trousers and put his hands over his crotch, so he did as he was told, said the victim.

The senior took out a can of spray paint and sprayed it all over Thanaphon’s naked body. Then, the senior took out a lighter and held it against Thanaphon’s stomach, setting him on fire. Thanaphon said he begged for him to stop because the pain was unbearable but Frame continued to burn him.

The flames quickly spread to Thanaphon’s arms, abdomen, legs, and genitals. Thanaphon said the senior appeared shocked by the fire and ran out of the bathroom, leaving him in there alone to put the fire out. He said the other first-years and seniors did not see the incident.

Despite Thanaphon’s serious burns, the other students did not take him to the hospital, so he left the accommodation and drove 50 kilometres home, in excruciating pain. He said he was too scared to ring his family for help because the hazing made him want to drop out of university and he had promised his mother he would finish his studies.

However, Thanaphon said he couldn’t stand the pain from his wounds so he decided to seek medical help and tell his family what happened.

After the incident happened, the senior who set him on fire warned him not to report him to the police or the university. The senior said he would help him, but Thanaphon said he wasn’t interested, and decided to file a police report.

Thanaphon said he knew that hazing ceremonies went on and had prepared himself for it but never expected it to be this violent and cruel. He decided to drop out of university.

The victim’s mother told reporters, in a trembling voice, that she could not accept that her child was abused like this. She said her son refused to tell her about it at first because he previously promised her to complete his studies. After he told his parents, they supported his decision to drop out. His mother said she sent him to university to learn and never expected he would be subject to such cruel behaviour.

Superintendent of Bang Phlat Police Station Pol. Col. Parinya Luang-uthai said the police know the name and details of the perpetrator. After the police have received the doctor’s medical report they will interrogate the senior student and anyone else involved, said Parinya.

The policeman said the senior would be summoned to the police station twice and if he didn’t come then a warrant would be issued for his arrest.

The senior is facing charges such as “physically harming others causing injury.” However, if the medical report deems the burns as serious then the senior may face additional charges.

Hazing is banned at most universities in Thailand yet violent initiation ceremonies are commonplace. Seniors often subject younger students to hazing rituals at off-campus locations to avoid getting caught.

In March, a first-year student was beaten to death during an off-campus hazing ceremony at Rajamangala University of Technology’s campus in Nakhon Ratchasima in northeast Thailand.

Other hazing rituals may not be so violent but always aim to humiliate the new students, e.g., in July, electrical engineering students from a university in Bangkok were forced to dance naked in front of women during another off-campus hazing ritual.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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