Children paid to guzzle alcohol at ordination ceremony
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Children paid to guzzle alcohol at ordination ceremony

13-year-old girl collapsed unconscious, rushed to hospital

Local officials, right, visit the family of the 13-year-old girl at Mitsamphan village in Nong Bunmak district, Nakhon Ratchasima on Tuesday. The girl collapsed unconscious  after she and a boy, also aged 13, were paid to guzzle alcohol from bottles during an ordination ceremony at a local temple on Sunday. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)
Local officials, right, visit the family of the 13-year-old girl at Mitsamphan village in Nong Bunmak district, Nakhon Ratchasima on Tuesday. The girl collapsed unconscious after she and a boy, also aged 13, were paid to guzzle alcohol from bottles during an ordination ceremony at a local temple on Sunday. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA - A 13-year-old girl paid 1,000 baht to guzzle alcohol at an ordination ceremony collapsed in a coma and was rushed to hospital.

She was admitted to intensive care and only later declared to be in a safe condition.

Police were tracking down the man who hired the girl and a 13-year-old boy to drink alcohol at the ceremony. They were each paid 1,000 baht cash and encouraged to swig a half-bottle of liquor during the ordination at a temple in Nong Bunmak district on Sunday afternoon.

The girl collapsed unconscious and was rushed to Nong Bunmak Hospital, then transferred to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital where she was treated in the intensive care unit.

 A video taken by a local resident showed some middle-aged men forming a circle and cheering on the girl and the boy as they raised their bottles and guzzled the liquor.

On Monday, 72-year-old Oui Krapheenok, of Mitsamphan village in tambon Nong Takai, filed a complaint with police at Nong Bunmak police station against an unidentified man who hired her granddaughter and the boy to drink the alcohol.

She said her granddaughter attended the ordination at a local temple on Sunday because she wanted to collect some of the coins thrown to the crowd by relatives during the ceremony. The girl wanted the money to help her family as there were 13 mouths to feed, grandma Oui said.  

A source said the girl regained consciousness on Tuesday, but was still unable to speak and suffered symptoms of dizziness as a side effect of the emergency treatment. Doctors had moved her from the ICU into a general ward.

On Tuesday, Picharn Trapakwaen, chief of Nong Bunmak district, led social welfare and public health officials to visit the girl’s family at Mitsamphan village. They learned the family was poor with 13  members. 

Mr Picharn said the girl was still being treated at the hospital. Poverty had driven the girl to accept the offer of the money as she wanted to help her family, the district chief said.

He had ordered that the girl's medical costs be covered, and assistance provided for her education and for the family.

Police on Tuesday learned the identity of the man who hired the two children to drink alcohol and said he would face legal action.

His actions were in breach of the Child Protection Act, which outlawed forcing, persuading or enticing children into behaving inappropriately, hiring children to work or act in a way that may be harmful to the body. He had also acted recklessly, causing injury to others.

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