BANGKOK — A leaked letter from a military cadet who died a questionable death indicates that the physical demands at the school made at least another student quit.
A letter which family members confirmed was written by Pakapong Tanyakan, 18, who officials maintain died of sudden heart failure, shows he wrote to offer moral support to a classmate who quit the Armed Forces Academic Preparatory School in Nakhon Nayok province.
The letter, which Pakapong’s family said was written two to three months before he passed away on Oct. 17, was returned to Pakapong’s mother, Sukanya, after the family was accused by some on social media of forcing a physically unfit son to enroll in the prestigious academy.
“Hello friend, my name is Maey, I’m the kid from Chonburi [province] and have dreamed since childhood of becoming a soldier. I’d do everything to become a soldier. I abandoned the fun of childhood in order to make my dream come true,” Pakapong wrote.
Pakapong told his classmate he tried and failed to enter the school twice before making it the third time. Pakapong added that he then really met the friend whom he was writing to because they passed one another while visiting the medical unit of the school for medical care.
“I am concerned about you. You are a fighter but your body is not well equipped. I understand and don’t blame you because each person’s physical [endurance] differs. When I met you I talked to you and you wanted to quit. I didn’t want you to quit and tried to change your mind but one thing I can’t do is to try and hold you against your parents’ wishes,” he wrote.
“In the end, you are a friend and I like your fighting spirit and hope your will become successful after your leave. You can apply some of the disciplines here out there. Be a good man and do not forget to debt of honors you owe to your father and mother,” he concluded.
After parents of Pakapong discovered that vital organs had been removed from their son’s body after it was returned to them, they demanded detailed answers as to what happened to the freshman cadet.
Pakapong had also written to another friend that he once passed out after enduring punishment but survived because his heart – which stopped – was resuscitated on time.
Incidentally on Friday, two senior officers at the school – Col. Chatchai Duangrat, commander of cadet regiment and Cmdr. Noppasith Pianchob, commander of the academy’s battalion – were transferred by Supreme Commander Gen. Thanchaiyan Srisuwan as pressure mounted on the military to provide an answer. No reason has been provided for the transfer order.
Pakapong’s parents are seeking an independent forensic examinations of key organs, returned to them on Thursday. Results are expected to come out in the next seven days.
As for the Pakapong’s family, his mother Sukanya and elder sister Supicha are currently hospitalized due to the stress and trauma caused by the death. The family said it learned from their son that he previously had to be hospitalized due to heavy corporal punishment.