So who are we talking about?
The director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) has clarified that the chemical required to complete the autopsy of the freshman cadet recently died in a military academy has not run out as reported in the media. CIFS Director Somn Promaros announced on 3 December 2017 that the delay in the autopsy of Cadet Phakhaphong Tanyakan was not due to a shortage of a formalin material used to preserve samples of his organs as reported on many media outlets.
Only a few days after the mysterious death of a freshman cadet triggered public outcry, reports have emerged that another military private had his hip broken from a beating. On 27 November 2017, Prayun Khongnonkok from Chaiyaphum Province informed Amarin TV that his son, Private Sanphet Khongnonkok, 23, was beaten by his trainer at Suranari Army Base in Nakhon Ratchasima Province and had his left hip broken. Sanphet was drafted for the military service on 1 November.
The military has summoned two key leaders of a rubber farmers association in southern Thailand to a military base. On 19 November 2017, Sunthorn Rakrong, President of the Association of Rubber Growers in 16 Southern Provinces, told Matichon Online that the military took two key leaders of the Association to a military base in Chumphon Province.
The mother of a private who died less than two weeks after being conscripted has alleged that her son may have been beaten to death. Tueanchai Noiphithak, mother of Adisak Noiphithak, a 21-year-old army private, told the Manager Online on 12 November 2017 that her son died under suspicious circumstances at a military base.
The Deputy Prime Minister has announced that the US has agreed to resume selling weapons to the Thai government. Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, on 3 October 2017 told the media after a meeting in which he represented the junta leader and PM, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, that the US has agreed to resume selling weapons to Thailand after the 2014 coup d’état halted sales.
Late last month, Private Noppadol Worakitpan died from cardiovascular failure soon after returning home. Allegedly, two other privates accompanying him informed his family he had been physically punished the day before, resulting in police investigations into the ninth such death within a decade. In addition to holding the perpetrators accountable for these crimes, it is time that Thailand replaced mass conscription with a national service programme to offer citizens a choice.
After an angry soldier shot at a Muslim student, a Vice President of Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Pattani campus, has called on the authorities to ensure the safety of the campus area while the leader of the student union has called for legal action against the shooter. On 9 August 2017, Bordin Waelateh, Vice President for Student Development, Pattani Campus, called on security officers in the restive Deep South to maintain campus areas as ‘safety zones’.
Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament has passed a bill that will install a committee tasked with ensuring that future governments adhere to the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) strategic plans for the next twenty years. Governments which fail to bring to life the NCPO’s wishes will face prosecution by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
This month, Thai television station Channel Seven — with ample members of the military in attendance — held a press conference announcing a new military-themed series named ‘Love Missions’. The show marks the military’s most explicit intervention in the country’s soap opera or lakorn industry yet.