Thursday, June 11, 2009

The hazing deaths in Thailand of Nirojsak Intachote and Krissana Chatsuwan

Krissana Chatsuwan, Fatal Initiation

Brutal student initiations have led to 2 deaths

Despite repeated tragedies, ugly initiation rituals continue to haunt freshmen's lives.

Last week, a first-year student at Rajamangala Tawan-ok University of Technology's Uthen Thawai Campus revealed that she was forced to eat ink-stained paper and handfuls of chillies by older students.

After she lodged a complaint with the Pavena Hongsakul Foundation, Uthen Thawai launched a probe yesterday.

Uthen Thawai's acting rector Suebpong Muangchu admitted that despite serious efforts, it remained difficult to eradicate violent initiations. Sompong Sheethaisong, dean of the faculty of engineering, said he had done everything he could to stop the rituals.

"But deep down, I really have no idea how to end this problem," he said.

Last year, Uthen Thawai hit the headlines after first-year student Krissana Chatsuwan sustained fatal head injuries during an initiation in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

"I can't come to terms with what happened. He was my only son," said Krissana's father Prachern. He made a plea that his son be the last to die in an initiation ritual.

However, that wasn't the case.

Just months later, 16-year-old Nirojsak Intachote sustained similar fatal brain injuries during an initiation ritual at another vocational school.

Many other victims have been left with serious wounds and painful memories.

Cruel rituals

Last year, Suradej Suwanrat -- a first-year student at Rajamangala University of Technology Bangkok - was badly burned along with two others at an initiation rite.

Questioned by police, the senior students involved said the rite was something they had been through in their first year.

Back in 2005, a first-year at Rajamangala University of Technology Isaan described being forced through 10 days of rituals with other juniors that included tugs of war with their sexual organs, setting their pubic hair on fire and crawling on cement floors with hands tied.

He refused to return to the college.

A year later, more than 20 first-year students at Thanyaburi Technical College were herded into a derelict house in Nakhon Nayok by seniors who forced them to strip naked.

"They lit candles and dripped hot wax onto our skin," a victim said. "Those who resisted were punched and kicked. Some of us were beaten unconscious".

A passing police patrol eventually scared the seniors off.

 75 students suspended, five teachers face investigation

Freshmen were beaten up, had pubic hair burnt and were threatened at gunpoint during their initiation. -The Nation/ANN

Thu, Jun 11, 2009
The Nation/Asia News Network

The Rajamangala Institute of Technology Uthen Thawai Campus yesterday suspended 75 seniors for forcing freshmen to swallow inkstained papers in a recent initiation ceremony, while taking disciplinary action against five lecturers for their alleged support for the hazing.

Acting rector Suebphong Muangchoo called on the aggrieved freshmen or their parents to come forward to further identify guilty seniors. The 75 penalised students were suspended for a year. The five lecturers are being questioned on their alleged encouragement of the seniors.

Apart from eating the paper, more details are emerging that the freshmen were beaten up, had their pubic hair burnt and were threatened at gunpoint during the initiation, according to San Worrain, a member of an investigation committee appointed by the Office of Higher Education Commission, which oversees all vocational schools and colleges.

The Paveena Hongsakul for Children and Women, which received the original complaint from a freshman on Sunday over the hazing, said it would officially lodge a complaint to the Education Ministry to take further action. Four Uthen Thawai freshmen have resigned and others are said to be in the process.

Around 200 Uthen Thawai alumni met yesterday with the management and incumbent students. Wichai Pomprasert, head of the alumni's association, said the incident had affected the campus' public image and said guilty seniors would not be protected after they were implicated.

Freshmen injured in the ceremony or who suffered from distress from the intimidation are entitled to up to Bt30,000 (S$1275) in expenses for medical treatment, said Surin Sathianmas, a deputy Rights and Liberties Protection Department directorgeneral. He said no victims of hazing had ever applied for these costs.

The alumni's association has proposed a sports day event and a traditional ceremony to initiate vocational students be held to replace the hazing ceremonies on a permanent basis. Both events should be held within the campus this year and could be held elsewhere, but under campus supervision, in the future.

 Father to seek justice for son

His son died from a blow on the head during a Thai varsity hazing session. -Daily Xpress, ANN

Tue, Jul 22, 2008
Daily Xpress, ANN

The father of an Uthen Thawai University first-year student says he'll seek the prosecution of those responsible for his son's death in a hazing on Monday.

Prachern Chatsuwan says he'll demand the criminal prosecution of both the seniors and university management.

Prachern says his wife earlier rejected criminal action because she was distraught and in shock.

Post mortems say Krissana Chatsuwan died from a blow to the head during an initiation event in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

There will be an investigation of the Monday death, the culpability of senior students and management of hazing activities by the university.

Prachuap Khiri Khan police deputy commander Colonel ThIwa Boondamnoen says police are finding out who was involved.

He adds there were no teachers at the event and witness have not been able to provide much information.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rajamangala University of Technology's Uthen Thawai campus

This just in from The Nation. Read the story here

Campus may call in police on hazing
By Chuleepon Aramned,
Anan Wijitpracha
The Nation
Published on June 10, 2009

Presented with conflicting information on initiation rites that supposedly went overboard, the Rajamangala University of Technology's Uthen Thawai campus is considering seeking police help.

"Police may have better techniques to find out the truth," acting rector Suebpong Muangchu said yesterday.

"Our fact-finding panel has a big headache. While many students have complained about the ceremonies, many others have come out to insist that the ugly things never happened," he said.

The school launched the probe after a student complained to the Pavena Foundation for Children and Women that seniors had forced her to eat ink-stained paper and chillies.

Suebpong said his school slapped more than 100 students with two-semester suspensions last year because none of them identified those responsible.

"In a few days, if we still cannot find the culprits, we will have to turn to police," he said.

Or else the school might have to punish all possible suspects again, he said.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has assigned San Wora-in to head its own investigation.

"We will look into the role of the campus too to check whether it has done enough to try to prevent the improper practice," San said.

The school's administrators have insisted that they had implemented all possible measures but frightening details continue to emerge.

"My son was told to aim a gun at his classmate and to pull the trigger. When he refused, he was beaten up. His pubic hair was also burnt as a punishment," Krissana Tontaen told the HEC panel.

Another unnamed student said 100 of his classmates had already dropped out because they could not stand the pranks any longer.

"The rites have haunted me because I don't know what I have to face each day. Sometimes I was forced to eat chillies and wasabi. On some days, I got hit," he said.

 "I'm glad the panel has promised to enrol us in another institution," he said. "Many of my friends dared not come forward because they're afraid that they won't have a place to study".

Education Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said he expects the HEC panel's report today, and called for hazing complaints to be lodged at hotline number 1579.