24 Men Charged Over Assault on Bangkok Temple School

Wallop Nutfaeng, the lead suspect in the attack on a Bangkok temple school, cries Tuesday as police raid his home.
Wallop Nutfaeng, the lead suspect in the attack on a Bangkok temple school, cries Tuesday as police raid his home.

BANGKOK — Multiple charges have now been brought against two dozen men accused of raiding a Bangkok school during university admission tests, police said Tuesday.

A total of 24 suspects, all male, have now been charged with six counts including trespassing, vandalism, assault, intimidation and consuming alcohol on temple grounds following Sunday’s attack on the Matthayom Wat Sing School, according to the Bang Khun Thian district police chief.

One suspect was charged with sexually harassing a minor, Col. Luesak Damnoensawas said. It followed complaints from a student who said one of the men kissed her cheek and verbally harassed her while she tried to break up a fight between them and her friend.

Investigators today raided the homes of 16 suspects for drugs and weapons but said they came up empty-handed.

Dozens of men stormed the campus Sunday afternoon and assaulted guards, students and teachers in classrooms after the school asked that an ordination ceremony at the temple be quiet as university admission tests were being administered to more than 300 students.

A teacher said he was assaulted by multiple men and sustained serious injuries to his arm after being hit by a chair and table. A student said he was struck in the head. The school’s director said some men charged into his office and punched him.

The ringleader was identified by police as Wallop Nutfaeng, 32, who apologized in tears to students, teachers and school security guards during a police raid on his house.

He said he wanted to talk to the school’s director and got angry when he couldn’t find him. He also admitted to being drunk.

Security footage shows the men walk through the school’s front gate, some holding liquor bottles, and start attacking the school guards attempting to stop them almost immediately. Wallop was seen leading the group.

Police said 20 men will be held at the Thon Buri Criminal Court, while the four minors would be sent to a local juvenile detention center. They said three more suspects would be called in for questioning.

The court on Tuesday afternoon denied bail for all suspects, saying they pose a threat to witnesses and could disrupt the investigation.

The attack drew outrage from the public. The police commissioner has promised swift prosecution of the assailants, while junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha joined the public to condemn the incident online and command that all perpetrators be “dealt with seriously and urgently.”

Education officials said affected students can retake the tests next week. The Education Minister said Monday that they were looking into whether they would sue the attackers for the cost of rescheduling the tests.

Related stories:

Students Affected by School Raid to Retake Test Next Week

Temple Goers Asked to Lower Noise Level Vandalize School