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Another Army death raises questions over Military handling of hazing

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Another Army death raises questions over Military handling of hazing | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Facebook/Boy Krungkao

by Chularat Saengpassa – The Nation Weekend

Hazing (US English) initiation ceremonies, (British English), bastardisation (Australian English), ragging (South Asia), or deposition, refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving, harassment, violence or humiliation used as a way of  initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team, or club.

Another conscript has succumbed to injuries inflicted whilst under the care of the Thai Army.

Private Khacha Pacha became the latest fatality of military-camp violence yesterday. He had been battling for his life for nearly a month and was in a coma since arriving at the hospital on August 21.

The 22 year old conscript has left behind his elderly mother, pregnant wife and toddler daughter. His family is now dealing with the pain that so many affected families had hoped would never happen again.

“I hope my son was the last victim, and nobody else has to experience this pain again,” Chittra Chormanee had said in 2016 after losing her 23 year old son, Private Songtham Moodmud, to alleged torture.

She chose not to file a lawsuit after the soldiers involved had begged for her forgiveness and the Army offered her an unidentified amount as compensation.

The latest victim, Khacha, was a conscript at the 31st Infantry Regiment (King’s Guard) in Lop Buri province when three other soldiers allegedly attacked him on August 21. Since then, there have been conflicting accounts on the attack. His family was initially told that he was beaten while being disciplined, but later, senior military officers began insisting that he had been beaten during a fight among soldiers.

Yet, even though Army chief General Chalermchai Sittisart has been denying the disciplining claim, the public is not entirely convinced.

After all, the public has heard too often about the brutal punishments at military camps and several victims of these beatings have made the headlines.

Another Army death raises questions over Military handling of hazing | News by The Thaiger

Private Khacha Pacha – PHOTO: Facebook/Boy Krungkao

Last October, 18 year old Phakhapong “Meay” Tanyakan, a first-year student at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, lost his life in murky circumstances just days after being allegedly disciplined by his seniors.

His heartbroken family has been fighting for justice ever since, but to date, there has been no evidence establishing a direct link between the disciplinary action and his death. His family is now asking for an investigation into his autopsy procedure at the military-owned hospital.

There were another two cases of questionable fatalities last year. On August 19, 2017, Private Noppadol Worakitphan, a 21 year old conscript at the 45th Army Circle, died of a ruptured heart and massive internal bleeding.

It was widely reported that he might have died because of harsh disciplinary action taken earlier in the day, but a military probe concluded that there was no beating at the camp and that something else may have happened outside the compound that affected Noppadol.

On April 1 last year, 22 year old Private Yutthakinan Boonniam succumbed to torture at a military camp in Surat Thani province and 11 soldiers have been taken to the military court over his death.

There are similar cases reported every year, and every time such reports appear in mainstream media, there is a call for an end to brutal punishment at military camps.

Yet, even after the Army has had to pay millions in compensation to victims’ families and has faced loud criticism, this trend has not stopped.

Another Army death raises questions over Military handling of hazing | News by The Thaiger

National Human Rights Commission commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit said her agency had raised this issue with the government several times and even offered recommendations on how such tragedies can be prevented.

In a separate interview, Cross Cultural Foundation director Pornpen Khongkachonkiet said her organisation had been trying to push military units to release details on how they punish soldiers.

“To ensure transparency, military units should be able to describe how each incident occurred to the public. Let’s see if there was really no excessive use of violence,” she said.

Her foundation has been helping the family of Sub-Lieutenant Sanan Thongdeenok seek justice after he drowned at the 1st Infantry Battalion of the Royal Guards.

30 year old Sanan drowned on June 6, 2015 after being ordered to swim non-stop

The Army is negotiating compensation with his family, and no lawsuit has been filed due to weak evidence.

One of the most high-profile cases, so far, is probably that of Private Wichien Phueksom.

Holding a master’s degree and spending a long time in monkhood, the 25 year old was reportedly unfamiliar with military surroundings. He ended up being disciplined harshly during his time at the 4th Development Battalion in Narathiwat Rajanagarind Military Camp.

His death on June 5, 2011 was put down to acute kidney failure. His body showed signs of serious physical abuse prompting his family to fight hard for justice. Yet, one of Wichien’s nieces faced threats and even an arrest warrant during the battle.

The Army has offered 6.5 million baht in compensation to settle the civil lawsuit, and criminal proceedings are ongoing.

“Delayed justice is no justice,” Wichien’s niece Narissarawan Kaewnopparat lamented.

Another Army death raises questions over Military handling of hazing | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation



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Bangkok

Summer storms leave 6,900 homes damaged this month

The Thaiger

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Summer storms leave 6,900 homes damaged this month | The Thaiger

More than 6,900 houses, mostly in a patch through the central-north regions of Thailand, have been hit by summer storms since the beginning of April, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Chayapol Thitisak, the director-general, says the department has received reports that 6,940 houses in 1,010 villages in 307 tambon of 115 districts had been damaged by storms since April 5. Twenty-nine provinces have been affected.

He said nine villagers were reported injured during the period as a result of storm damage.

Chayapol said his department has coordinated with Army bases and government agencies concerned to provide help to the affected villagers.

The summer storms, quickly developing tropical storm-cells, are prevalent this time of the year, usually when cooler air from China starts to interact with the rising south-western monsoon. They can be quite violent, sudden and bring strong winds, torrential rain and even hail.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

The Thaiger

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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Thailand

Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui

The Thaiger

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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Sun

A 200 kilogram tourist, who forced flight crews to wipe his bum as he moaned with pleasure in January, has died on Koh Samui.

The American, who hasn’t been named, died whilst staying on the Gulf island due to an undisclosed illness. But he has left an indelible memory in his wake.

At the same time, as the news emerged about his demise, EVA Air were putting plans in motion to ban the oversize traveller from flying with their airline ever again.

The man shocked readers is January when he was accused of forcing cabin crew to strip him in a cramped airline toilet (remember this guy weighed 200 kilograms) and wipe his bum while he “moaned with pleasure”.

The incident occurred on an EVA Air long-haul flight from LA to Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport and was covered extensively on world media.

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

A flight attendant, who on the same flight, described how the passenger boarded the plane in a wheelchair and then insisted on having three adjoining seats in economy class due to his size. He then demanded to use the plane’s business class lavatory, as he couldn’t fit into the economy toilets.

But (put down your food if eating) while in the toilet, he demanded cabin crew strip him down so he could relieve himself, saying he had an arm injury that prevented him from doing it himself.

“I told him we couldn’t help him, but he started yelling. He told me to go in there immediately and threatened to relieve himself on the floor. As the passenger’s genitals were now exposed, one of my colleagues brought a blanket, which I used to cover his modesty.”

“But he very angrily slapped my hand away, saying he didn’t want it and only wanted me to remove his underwear so he could use the toilet.”

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

The flight attendant who ‘assisted’ the man should be awarded lots of medals and a lifetime supply of latex gloves

The passenger then asked crew to wipe his bum for him leading him to groan as the chief attendant fulfilled his request while wearing three pairs of latex gloves.

“He said: ‘Oh, mmm, deeper, deeper,’ and then accused my chief attendant of not properly cleaning his backside, requesting that she do it again,” recalled the attendant, who was holding onto the passenger to keep him steady.

She said the attendant repeated the action three times before the man said, “You can pull my pants back up now.”

The two female flight attendants involved, who both said they were traumatised by the incident in January, are both on extended paid leave.

The Sun.co.uk, reporting this story, says that “Party island Ko Samui – the second largest island in Thailand – is known for its prostitution and seedy nightlife.”

Despite the source, the incident has been widely reported by ‘respectable media’ on January 20 this year, and the large man has indeed passed away on Koh Samui.

SOURCE: The Sun

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

‘The Sun’ confuses Koh Samui with Walking Street

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