32 senior students now charged over deadly hazing ritual

32 senior students now charged over deadly hazing ritual

Ekachai Chonpakdi, 55, whose freshman son Padyos was killed by a violent hazing ritual, leads monks, relatives, friends, and other mourners to the crematorium at Wat Noi in Sikhiu district, Nakhon Ratchasima province, on Monday. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)
Ekachai Chonpakdi, 55, whose freshman son Padyos was killed by a violent hazing ritual, leads monks, relatives, friends, and other mourners to the crematorium at Wat Noi in Sikhiu district, Nakhon Ratchasima province, on Monday. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Police have pressed charges against a total of 32 senior students of Rajamangala University of Technology Isan for their roles in organising a violent hazing ritual, including the seven students charged with causing a student's death.

Pol Col Kanatnan Suwannasap, superintendent of Maroeng police station in Muang district, said on Tuesday that investigators had so far questioned more than 60 people, students and others, who attended the brutal hazing in a paddy field outside the campus. 

Seven senior students have been charged with colluding in physical assault causing death and in assault causing physical and mental harm.

Twenty-five other senior students are charged with bringing disgrace on junior students and violating communicable disease controls. The junior students were reportedly forced to take off their clothes.

Pol Col Kanatnan said he had ordered the investigation team to wrap up the case in 30 days.

The charges arise from the death of Padyos “Prem’’ Chonpakdi, 19, a first-year student at Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, who died after being beaten unconscious during a hazing ritual for freshmen in a dry paddy field at Ban Khok Makok in Muang district on the night of Mar 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.

Surapot Watcharopakul, deputy rector of Rajamangala University of Technology Isan and chairman of the university’s investigation panel, said a meeting with the university’s governing body panel would consider academic penalties against senior students involved in the hazing.

The police investigation report would also be taken into consideration, said Mr Surapot.

Any students directly involved in beating Padyos and causing his death would be expelled for serious misconduct. Other senior students who secretly organised the hazing would face suspension from their studies and those who attended the ritual would have their behaviour scores cut, the deputy rector said.

The governing body panel would be asked to conclude the penalties this week, the deputy rector said.

On Monday, relatives, friends, student parents and lecturers bid a final farewell to Padyos, who was cremated at Wat Noi in Sikhiu district of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Amornwut Singdanjaki, representing the university alumni, presented 400,000 baht in remedial donations from former students to the victim's father, Ekachai Chonpakdi, 55.

Mr Ekachai on Monday confirmed he would not accept the 500,000 baht compensation offer made by parents of the seven senior students charged with his son's death. The matter would go to court.

He said the family would take his son's ashes to his home province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

As for remedial measures, the university had informed him it would provide scholarships for his son's girlfriend Phimphan Phetyim, who is two months pregnant, and for his young sister, now in Pathom Suksa 4 (Grade 4). The scholarships would enable to them complete bachelor's degrees.

Padyos: Beaten until unconscious


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