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Initial military probe into the death of a conscript shows no sign of foul play

Initial military investigation into the suspicious death of a conscript based in Surat Thani on Saturday night (Aug 19) did not find any sign of foul play, said Col Winthai Suvaree, spokesman of the Army.

He disclosed that Army Commander-in-Chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart had been informed about the death of Pvt Noppadol Worakitpan, 21, and had ordered the 45th Military Circle to set up a fact-finding panel to probe the case and to coordinate closely with the police to ensure fairness to all parties involved.

Noppadol came home on Saturday night with two conscripts accompanying him. Noppadol's mother, Mrs Malaiporn, said he complained that he felt very exhausted and went into his bedroom. He was later found lying unconscious with blood leaking out of his nose and mouth.

Autopsy conducted at the provincial hospital showed bleeding in his chest and lungs, fractured heart and spleen.

Col Winthai said army officers at the barrack had questioned several officers and examined footages from CCTV system in the camp but didn't find any illegal activities especially during 7pm and 8.45pm of Saturday night.

Noppadol was seen in the footages to look quite normal when he was waiting for a car to take him from the camp, he added.

The spokesman went on saying that the punitive exercise which was imposed on a group of conscripts, including Noppadol, during 7.45pm did not show any foul play and after the session, all the conscripts were allowed to take a shower and to take rest.

He, however, noted that the probe panel would try to find out if there was any limited space of time that a foul play could happen to the victim or not � whether it happened in the compound of the barrack or outside.

He assured that no army officers who are above the law and who can do anything as they wish.

The closed-circuit cameras footage were also shown to the family of the victim, said Maj-Gen Vichai Tasanamonthien, commander of the 45th Military Circle.

The footages showed about 60 conscripts undergoing punitive exercise which included squat jumps and situps among others.

The victim's family told army officers that they didn't doubt the punitive exercise, but they would like the army to find out whether it was possible that Noppadol might be attacked after the exercise.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)