“The investigation is not finished. Police are still trying to make a conclusion,” Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Witoon Kongsudjai told The Phuket News today.
Col Witoon declined to explain what specifically was causing the delay.
He also declined to estimate when the investigation might finally conclude.
“Please wait,” he said, before terminating the conversation.
The investigation dragged to a halt after officers said they were investigating whether or not any charges should be brought against Phuket Rajabhat University over the circumstances that led to Nong Mint’s death.
An initial charge of negligence causing the death has been presented against a second-year student over Nong Mint’s death, though police have consistently declined to confirm whether or not that charge has been withdrawn.
In October, Phuket City Police Chief Col Theerawat Liamsuwan confirmed that no other new charges have been presented against anyone, or the university.
“We are still working to our own deadline,” Col Theerawat assured, but declined to answer when he expected the investigation to conclude.
Col Theerawat declined to reveal any other details about the investigation.
“For more details, please ask Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Witoon Kongsudjai,” he said.
The Phuket News called Col Witoon at that time, but he also declined to explain any details about the investigation or any charges pending over Nong Mint’s death.
“Please ask Col Theerawat about it,” he said, before terminating that conversation.
The stall in the investigation follows Col Theerawat on Sept 25 telling state news agency MCOT, “There will be a meeting of the investigation committees in the coming week, in order to conclude whether any lecturer or university staff will be charged for ignoring their duty or not.”
Col Witoon later confirmed that the meeting was held on Sept 24, but declined to reval any details from that meeting.
Col Witoon also urged people to understand that the investigation would take time.
However, that call for patience follows deputy national police chief Pol Maj Gen Suchart Theerasawat announcing at Phuket City Police Station on Aug 24, “This case should take a short time to process, and if the medical results come quickly, the case can be prosecuted and closed.”
Maj Gen Suchart had travelled to Phuket to be personally updated on the investigation following Nong Mint’s death becoming major national news amid concerns of hazing being allowed at the Phuket university, as only Nong Mint and other first-year students were ordered to run as punishment for making mistakes during the cheerleading practice.
After weeks of conducting their own investigation, doctors at Vachira Phuket Hospital reported to police that Nong Mint’s death was brought on by insufficient blood supply to the heart, leading to heart failure.
There was no explanation of what had caused the heart failure, which is apparently still under investigation – despite widespread initial reports of Nong Mint’s death explaining that the young student had been ordered to run laps around the pond on campus, which has a perimeter of one kilometre. Nong Mint reportedly collapsed during her eighth lap.
She was ordered to run the laps as punishment for making mistakes during cheerleading practice.
The university has consistently denied that Nong Mint died from any form of hazing, although it has since been confirmed that only first-year students who made mistakes during the cheerleading practice were ordered to run laps.
The university also maintains that Nong Mint and the other first-year students were ordered to run laps around the car park where the cheerleading practice was held, and not around the campus pond.