April 10, 2023
BANGKOK – Disturbing photos and videos of the comatose young man taken at the conscription-centre in Lamphun’s Muang district caused an uproar on social media and heated criticism of the Third Army, which is in charge of provinces in the North.
Colonel Rungkhun Mahapanyawong, deputy spokesman for the Third Army, apologised on Sunday to the mother, Duangkamol Wutthirothong, and to her comatose son, Thanakrit.
Rungkhun promised no such incident would happen again.
Parents of bedridden, comatose or severely-ill young men will now be permitted to inform the Army so that it can send a group of conscription screeners to their homes – or to hospitals – to approve conscription exemptions.
A former actor, Thanakrit, was severely injured in Bangkok in April of last year when his motorbike was hit by a vehicle whose driver had been drinking. He sustained severe brain and skull injuries, resulting in the left side of his skull sinking.
He is kept alive by oxygen and feeding tubes.
His mother said on Saturday that she had informed military officials that her son was comatose and showed a medical certificate to prove it.
Army spokesman Rungkhun confirmed that the mother contacted the chief recruiting officer in Muang district in February, but was told that the conscription law required her son to show up for the conscription process in order to be declared exempt.
The chief recruiting officer advised her to get an ambulance to transport her son to the recruiting centre so that a committee could examine him and approve his exemption, Rungkhun said.
Rungkhun said the mother brought her son to the recruiting station at 9.30am. A medical officer certified he was not fit for military service and a committee issued an exemption certificate for him.
The process took just 10 minutes, Rungkhun said.
Now, parents can inform recruiting committees if their sons are medically unable to travel to a recruitment station and can show photos as evidence. A committee will then be sent to homes or hospitals to investigate each case and issue an exemption certificate if necessary.