Father of hazing victim rejects B500,000 offer, will take case to court

Father of hazing victim rejects B500,000 offer, will take case to court

Ekachai Chonpakdi, 55, father of brutalised and killed freshman Padyos
Ekachai Chonpakdi, 55, father of brutalised and killed freshman Padyos "Prem", 19, has rejected a compensation offer and says the family will fight the case to the end. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: The father of the university freshman killed by a violent hazing ritual has rejected a 500,000 baht compensation offer by parents of the seven senior students involved, and said he will seek justice through the courts.

Ekachai Chonpakdi, 55, said on Friday he talked with the parents of the seven senior students of Rajamangala University of Technology Isan on Thursday.

They had offered compensation. 

“I rejected the 500,000-baht compensation offer and asked them, 'Can you give back my son’s life?'. They could not answer my question," Mr Ekachai said.

He would fight the case through the justice system, to the very end, he said.

Since the loss of their son, he and his wife had cried every night. They could not come to terms with it.

Their son, Padyos "Prem" Chonpakdi, 19, a first-year student at Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, died after being beaten unconscious during a hazing ritual in a dry paddy field at Ban Khok Makok in Muang district on the night of March 13.

The details were first revealed on the Facebook page ANTI SOTUS. Hazing is known euphemistically as Seniority Order Tradition Unity Spirit. 

The post said senior students took Padyos to the rice field under the pretence they were going to play football. 

Instead, the gathering became a violent ritual in which Padyos was forced to drink alcohol and then beaten unconscious by the senior students. He died on the way to hospital.

The seven senior students directly involved in the lethal hazing have already charged with physical assault causing death.

Mr Ekachai said he would take his son’s body from Police General Hospital’s Institute of Forenic Science in Bangkok to Wat Noi in Sikhiu district of Nakhon Ratchasima for religious rites, and cremation on March 21.

He initially planned to take his son to his home province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, but that was too far. 

The autopsy result showed Padyos sustained severe chest injuries, with bruising to his lung, Mr Ekachai said.

He expressed his doubts that only seven senior students were involved in the brutality that caused his son's death. There could have been more, he said.

A source said police have pressed additional charges of physical assault causing injury against the seven students. Two other junior students were also injured during the hazing.

The seven students and other students who organised the ritual, 25 in total, were also charged with causing indignity to junior students who were forced to take off their clothes and violating communicable disease controls.

A university panel meeting on Saturday will decide on academic penalties for the 25 senior students involved.

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