At least five will face arrest warrants for soldier’s death

Maj Kittisak Kalaseranee, a staff judge advocate from the 45th Military Circle, and military police arrive at Muang police station in Surat Thani to take two soldiers who earlier got involved in a conflict with Pvt Yutthakinun Boonniam, who was later beaten to death, for questioning on Tuesday. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

Warrants will be out for the arrests of at least five soldiers allegedly involved in the death of a 22-year-old conscript suspected of being beaten at a local army prison in Surat Thani.

Surat Thani police chief Apichart Boonsri on Tuesday called a meeting with police investigators to discuss the progress of the case and accelerate the probe after more than 10 witnesses were questioned.

Pvt Yutthakinun Boonniam, attached to the 45th Military Circle, was attacked while being detailed for disciplinary offences at a military prison at Vibhavadi Rangsit military camp.

He was taken to a hospital following the attack on Friday and was pronounced dead on Saturday morning.

The investigation had looked into a report which mentioned that Pvt Yutthakinun had allegedly been assaulted at Saeng Phet intersection on Don Nok road in Muang district of Surat Thani the night of March 26. Footage of closed circuit television cameras in the area had been examined and found no brawl at the time. This suggested that the private had been brutally assaulted inside the military prison at the 45th Military Circle.

Pol Maj Gen Apichart said autopsy results on Pvt Yutthakinun showed that the private had died from kidney malfunction and severe bruises on his body were from being beaten by hard objects.

“The investigation team will meet again tonight to conclude on the arrest warrants. At least five people will face arrest warrants and evidence is being gathered to implicate two others. The issue will be clear no later than April 5,’’ said the Surat Thani police chief.

Maj Kittisak Kalaseranee, a staff judge advocate from the 45th Military Circle, and military police took two soldiers allegedly having a conflict with Pvt Yutthakinun to police investigators at Surat Thani’s Muang police station for questioning. The two soldiers, who had been engaged in the rift with the private two months ago, had been interrogated for two hours.

Renue Motrakhee, the victim’s mother, said she was satisfied with the police investigation and a remark by Maj Gen Wichai Watthanamonthien, chief of the 45th Military Circle that the culprits would be brought to justice in 1-2 days. Her family would set the date to the cremation of her son after the arrest warrants were issued, said the mother.

Now, she had faith in the justice procedures following the outcome of the investigation and army chief Chalermchai Sittisat’s recent remark.

The army chief on Monday expressed regret and responsibility for the death of the 22-year-old private. He also apologised to the public over the incident and extended his condolences to Pvt Yutthakinun’s family.

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