Youth activists condemn latest university hazing scandal

Youth activists advocating education reform have condemned those involved in the latest hazing scandal, urging the authorities to bring justice for the victim who nearly drowned.

Education for Liberation of Siam (ELS), on 12 September 2016, issued a statement to condemn senior students of the Faculty of International Maritime Studies of Kasetsart University, Sri Racha Campus, over the hazing ritual, known in Thai as ‘rap nong’.

The hazing made headlines nationwide because Chokechai Thongnuekhao, a 19-year-old freshman, nearly drowned.   

According to witnesses, senior students forced Chokechai to swim across a large pond at the campus during a hazing session. He is now in Chonburi Hospital in a semi-critical condition from a lung infection.

ELS stated that such action by university seniors is inappropriate for ‘educated persons’, adding that the university should also take responsibility for what happened.  

Warisa Sukkumnoed, Secretary-General of ELS, told Thai Voice Media in an interview that risky or violent methods of hazing should not be tolerated.

She said the Thai authorities should make sure that the Criminal Code is used to prosecute senior students who force freshmen to participate in violent or risky hazing.

Chongrak Wachrinrat, Acting Rector of Kasetsart University, said that six or seven senior students were at the scene when the incident happened, adding that the seniors “told” Chokechai to swim to them in the pond, and Chokechai appeared to have a cramp, Khaosod English reported.

The Acting Rector said that the university is now investigating in the matter.

Chokechai (in small frame on the left)