Perpetrators in Fatal Beating of Soldier Not Yet Named

Army recruiters inspect potential draftees in Bangkok on Saturday

BANGKOK — Military and police officials said justice would be served for a young recruit who was reportedly beaten to death in an army prison over the weekend, yet as of Tuesday not a single perpetrator had been identified.

Yutthaginan Boonniam, 22, died Saturday after he was sent to hospital with injuries to his internal organs his family said were the result of a beating by fellow soldiers. On Monday night the commander of the regional army attended Yutthaginan’s funeral and vowed to bring those responsible to answer to the laws, but added that it would take several days to even know who they are.

“I will find the wrongdoers to answer to be punished,” Lt. Gen. Wichai Tassanamonthian said at the funeral in Surat Thani province. “We will know who they are in the coming days.”

The chief of the police station charged with investigating the case said officers are still gathering information about the soldiers who fatally abused Yutthaginan.

“We are currently gathering evidence and witness testimonies to identify [the perpetrators],” Col. Sirichai Songwasin said by telephone. “But I’d like to confirm that there’s been progress in the case.”

Yutthaginan was the latest reported victim of aggression within the army’s ranks – which sometimes turn deadly. His death, which came to light thanks to widespread attention on social media, also coincided with the annual draft that will place up to 103,000 men in a two-year service.

This year’s draft lasts until April 12.

Yutthaginan’s mother was initially quoted as saying she would not cremate her son until justice was served, but she changed her mind upon hearing Lt. Gen. Witchai’s reassurance last night. Yutthaginan will be cremated on Wednesday, Renu Boonniam told reporters.

The Thai armed force is often criticized for nepotism, corruption and violent treatment of recruits.

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