Royal Thai Navy sailor reports “being abused” by senior officer
A sailor in the Royal Thai Navy has made a formal complaint to police that his senior “abused him”. The seaman surmised that his senior might have been dissatisfied with his cooking skills and how he cut the vegetables.
He told police he was hit on the head and ordered to go through a range of punishments. After discussing with the authorities, the sailor and his family decided to negotiate a settlement over the matter. However, a Royal Thai Navy spokesperson says the case can’t be settled and authorities will impose disciplinary action on the senior officer.
Runnanee Turaphan, the mother of the victim, brought her child to the Pluta Luang Provincial Police Station to report the incident at the camp at Sattahip district in Chon Buri. The sailor, Wuttipong Charoensook, told the police that he joined the navy for 7 months and shared responsibilities for cooking for other seamen and officers.
He claimed that the senior officer hit him on the head with a knife handle and slapped his face many times while cooking, without reason. He said he didn’t dare to ask what the officer’s grievances were, and guessed it was because of his cooking skills or the way he cut the vegetables.
He also claimed that the same senior punished him, ordering him to put his head down to the floor and lay prostrate, counting from 1 – 5oo. The senior is alleged to have done the same thing to him on the following day until he surrender to the abuse and asked to go home.
The Royal Thai Navy spokesperson says that the department commander, that the senior officer reported to, was notified about the incident, and further investigations would be conducted.
“Even if Wuttipong and his family would like to settle after discussing, the case still had to operate according to the law.”
The authorities also insisted that Royal Thai Navy would never encourage any harmful punishment or attacks on the sailors under their care.
“Anyone who breaks the rules should be punished according to disciplinary action.”
While the case is under investigation, Wuttipong is being allowed a break while he receives counselling and recovers from the physical abuse. After that, he will be moved to work in other departments, instead of cooking.
This type of ‘hazing’ or initiation ceremonies and bastardisation have been a common phenomenon in the Thai military ranks. There have been a number of high profile cases, including the deaths of young recruits after sever beatings and punishments. Senior Thai government officials have acknowledged the abuses and called for urgent changes of the culture of military officials towards younger recruits and soldiers.
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