Cadet Who Died in Training Called Up to Join Military

Cadet Pakapong Tanyakan poses for a picture with his mother on Aug. 16, 2017. Image: Sukanya Tanyakan / Facebook

BANGKOK — The army apologized Tuesday for sending a letter threatening legal action for draft avoidance to a cadet who died three years ago during his training at an armed forces academy.

Army spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree blamed a lack of coordinated databank for the error, which saw the conscription notice being served to the family of Pakapong Tanyakan, who was 19 when he died under suspicious circumstances. 

“The army’s database has not been synchronized with the civilian records,” Winthai said. 

The letter, signed by Chonburi military recruiting officer Lt. Col. Prakong Wongyai, said Pakapong must report for the annual conscription by Aug. 31 or else face charges of draft avoidance, punishable by three months in prison. 

Pakapong’s sister Supicha Tanyaka posted a photo of the letter online, which soon drew outrage from netizens.

“Who are you calling to the draft? He already died at the cadet school,” she wrote, tagging her deceased brother’s Facebook account. 

Lt. Col. Prakong’s number, printed on the letter, was disconnected as of publication time. 

The cadet died in April 2018 at the armed forces academy in Nakhon Nayok province, just days after he wrote in a diary about abuses and physical violence. 

Although his body was found with bruises, the authorities said Pakapong fell down eight flights of stairs, and attributed his death to a “sudden heart attack.” 

Some of Pakapong’s organs were also missing when the body was returned to the family. The military later said the organs were preserved for health inquiries, and apologized to the family.

The investigation into his death is said to be ongoing.