School regiment commander transferred to inactive post

School regiment commander transferred to inactive post

Pichet Tanyakan (right), father of Pakapong
Pichet Tanyakan (right), father of Pakapong "Moei" Tanyakan, and Sukanya Tanyakan, his mother, carry the boxes containing the organs of their son at the army-run Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok on Friday. They will bring the organs to be tested again by the Central Institute of Forensic Science. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The pre-cadet school regiment commander has been transferred to an inactive post, effective Friday, following the controversial death of a cadet in October.

The Royal Thai Armed Forces order signed by its commander was issued on the same day.

Under the order, Col Chatchai Duangrat, the pre-cadet school regiment commander, was transferred to serve as an operating officer attached to the Royal Thai Armed Forces.

He is replaced by Col Benjapol Dechartwong Na Ayutthaya, deputy commander of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen’s Guard.

Cdr Noppasit Pianchob, commander of the school battalion, was also sidelined and replaced by Cdr Prasertsilp Vorasit from the Royal Thai Marine Corps.

While the order does not specify the reason, the change is believed to be linked to the death of Pakapong "Moei" Tanyakan, an 18-year-old first-year cadet, at the school on Oct 17.

The cause of death, as determined by an autopsy at the army-run Phramongkutklao Hospital, was “acute heart failure”. However, his family had doubts and commissioned a second autopsy by the Central Institute of Forensic Science without telling the school. The cremation ceremony was held without the body.

The result showed vital organs -- the heart, brain and stomach -- were missing and replaced by tissue paper, prompting the parents to seek clarifications from the military. The top brass at the Royal Thai Armed Forces explained organ removals were a normal medical procedure when more tests are required to be conducted on the parts.

As the news spread, it is widely speculated in social media too severe or unconventional training might have caused the death. 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha apologised to the family and pledged to continue with the investigations to get to the bottom of the mystery.  

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