Cops probe hazing that led to death

Cops probe hazing that led to death

Senior pupils 'killed' man, 22, in ritual

Police are preparing to seek arrest warrants against 12 senior students at Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-ok, for allegedly being involved in a group beating of a second-year engineering student, which later led to his death.

Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), yesterday led investigators from Pathumwan station, Metropolitan Police Division 6 and MPB to gather evidence related to the death of Veeraphan "Pleum" Tamklang, 22, a second-year student of the civil engineering faculty, Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-ok's Uthenthawai Campus.

It has been reported the university's CCTV footage captured the moment at 8pm on May 27 when Veeraphan entered the building with his friend; he was carried out of the building and taken to hospital one hour later.

Mr Veeraphan was admitted to Hua Chiew Hospital, then transferred to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on May 29. The doctor ruled the cause of death as a pulmonary embolism but that raised doubts among his family as Veeraphan was fit and healthy.

After a meeting with the university, Pol Maj Gen Piya said police believed the evidence was sufficient to seek warrants against those 12 third-year students after reviewing CCTV footage and questioning witnesses.

Police were initially told the senior students had gathered some first-year pupils for a meeting about hazing activities before ordering them to sit alongside each other and kicking each of them as a punishment.

Mr Veeraphan was kicked by the senior students as a punishment for not giving his opinion as he was the head of the class.

Pol Maj Gen Piya said police were also looking at the suggestion a female senior student had also been involved in inflicting physical harm.

If charges are laid they will be classified as both violations of the emergency decree and the Communicable Disease Act. If any senior students are found to have been involved with the assault, additional charges will follow, the officer added.

Asst Prof Pornchai Utchariyamedhakorn, vice-president of the university, said the university had not allowed any gatherings to take place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

University staff who witnessed the incident have also been questioned by police for alleged negligence.

University regulations stipulate the 12 students will be expelled if evidence is found of wrongdoing. Their names have been submitted to the president he had yet to formally sign their expulsions, Asst Prof Pornchai said.

Mr Veeraphan's family have spoken up about the incident. "I want police to promptly investigate the case and deliver justice to my son. Everything can be forgiven if those senior students admit their guilt," said Ms Manassanan, the victim's 57-year-old mother.

"This is too harsh," said Ms Viman, Mr Veeraphan's 64-year-old aunt.

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