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Police probe into Phuket student death still yet to conclude

Police probe into Phuket student death still yet to conclude

PHUKET: Despite police last week assuring that the investigation into the death of 19-year-old student Pornpiphat “Mint” Iaddam at Phuket Rajabhat University last month would be concluded “within seven days”, police today (Sept 25) confirmed that the investigation is still ongoing as “some things still need to be checked”.

By The Phuket News

Friday 25 September 2020, 03:00PM

Nong Mint collapsed and later died after being ordered to run as punishment for making mistakes during cheerleading practice on campus on Aug 19.

Exactly how far Nong Mint was ordered to run and how far she had run before she collapsed and died is in dispute. Initial reports confirmed she had run several kilometres before she collapsed while running laps around the campus pond. The university maintains that Nong Mint had run only a few hundred metres before collapsing, and that she was ordered to run around the car park, not the campus pond.

While a second-year student who ordered Nong Mint to run has already been presented with an initial charge of negligence causing the death over the incident, Phuket City Police Chief Col Theerawat Liamsuwan last week told 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.”

If or when that decision will be made is now unclear.

Col Theerawat was unavailable when called by The Phuket News, but Phuket Provincial Deputy Commander Col Witoon Kongsudjai explained today (Sept 25), "Nong Mint’s case is still under investigation. We have only just received confirmation of the doctor’s report of Nong Mint’s death."

Actually, Col Theerawat explained last week that police now had the doctor’s report, which confirmed that Nong Mint died of heart failure – a point that was never in dispute.

Meanwhile, Col Witoon today said he was unable to give any details of the meeting held by officers investigating Nong Mint’s death, but he did confirm the investigators met yesterday (Sept 24).

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.

“At the meeting yesterday [Sept 24], we had to consider the university’s regulations to avoid similar cases happening again in the future," was all Col Witoon would say today.

He declined to explain what regulations were in effect at the university at the time of Nong Mint’s death, and he declined to confirm whether any new charges would be pressed over her death.

“This case is nearly finished. It will be  finished as soon as possible,” Col Witton said.

Col Witoon declined to estimate when the investigation would be concluded.

The release of the doctor’s report to the investigators allowed Vachira Phuket Hospital to finally release Nong Mint’s body to her family last Friday so that her funeral could be held.

Nong Mint’s remains were cremated at Wat Tha Ruea in Srisoonthorn on Tuesday (Sept 22).

Friends, family and fellow students were present to pay their respects.

“I am still waiting for the police to call to talk about Nong Mint’s case. I expect that to be soon,” family member Wilawan Iaddam told The Phuket News today (Sept 25).

Ms Wilawan declined to speak further about the investigation.

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Kurt | 26 September 2020 - 12:08:18

A Major General ( dept nat police chief!), several police colonels, already more than a month 'busy' with this sad death of a young student. Why all these very top rank officers are involved? Many 'declining'.  Are here high stake 'mediation' matters to be settled? The medical part investigation was already finished long time ago.


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