Army 'sorry' over bed-ridden draftee gaffe
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Army 'sorry' over bed-ridden draftee gaffe

The army has apologised for ordering a bed-ridden man to report to a conscription venue in Lamphun on Saturday to prove he was not fit enough to be drafted.

Last month, the mother of Thanakrit Wuthiraithong, a 21-year-old resident of Lamphun's Muang district, reported the young man had been hit by a car and would not be able to report for conscription as ordered on Saturday because the accident had left him bed-ridden.

Regardless, a military recruitment officer in Muang district ordered his mother to bring Mr Thanakrit to the conscription venue anyway, so he could be removed from the military conscription list.

The officer even asked the local municipal office to send an emergency medical vehicle to bring the man to the venue, where conscription officers confirmed the bed-ridden man was indeed not qualified to serve as he suffered a skull depression during the accident.

"The process, though in line with the law, caused trouble for the parent and Mr Thanakrit because of his difficult physical condition," Col Rungkhun Mahapanyawong, spokesman for the 3rd Army, said on Sunday.

"The Third Army would like to apologise and assure the family that all officers involved in the incident have been reprimanded," the regional army spokesman said.

From now on, the army will send recruitment officers to carry out physical examinations at home or at the nearest hospital for those who are living with such handicaps, he said.

The response was issued after Mr Thanakrit's mother spoke to the press on Saturday. She asked why she had to take her bed-ridden son to the conscription centre. The saga comes as political parties on the campaign trail have called for an  end to conscription.

Separately, student activist-turned-monk Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal is resisting mandatory conscription, saying he plans to leave monkhood by the end of the month and fight for his right to reject military service.

In a letter uploaded to Facebook by social critic Sulak Sivaraksa, the 27-year-old former activist, now known as Phra Netiwit Jaranasampanno, said he has opposed mandatory conscription since he was a high school student because it violates human rights and liberty.

He denied entering monkhood on July 10 last year to avoid the mandatory conscription, after his number came up in the draw.

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