Thursday, December 12, 2019

Dharma drama: Bangkok school invaders deny assault accusations

Feb 25. 2019
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By The Nation

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Arrest warrants have been granted for 20 men age 18 to 41 who turned themselves in to police over the course of several hours on Sunday evening and Monday morning to deny accusations that they’d assaulted teachers and students at a Bangkok high school.

The men – 12 in their 20s, two age 18 and six between 32 and 41 – insisted at Bang Khun Thien Police Station in Chom Thong district they were involved in no violent misbehaviour.

A group of nearly 50 men stormed into Wat Sing Secondary School on Sunday afternoon and allegedly assaulted teachers, male students and a guard, molested a female student and damaged property. 

The 20 who came forward said they’d assaulted no one and none of them had shouted out, as accused, “If my brother doesn’t get ordained, you don’t get to do exams.” 

Police nevertheless charged the men with intruding on school premises, damaging state property and assault resulting in injury.

Arrest warrants issued by the Thon Buri Criminal Court also include the charge of intrusion by more than two people into a place in someone else’s possession. 

The 2.55pm incident was apparently triggered by a request repeated several times on the school’s public-address system for the men to lower the volume of music being played at their friend’s ordination celebration at an adjacent temple.

Students at the school were sitting a General Aptitude Test and Professional Aptitude Test at the time. 

Teachers approached the revellers in person and an argument ensued. They were told the host had paid Bt20,000 for loudspeakers and musicians and the volume would not be lowered.

School officials claim that some of the revellers then barged into the school, leading to 15 staff members and students being injured. 

One school executive sustained a broken nose. A female student was allegedly forcibly embraced and kissed. 

The shocked students were given some time to calm down before resuming the exam, whose period was extended by 30 minutes, hampering their chances of admission to their preferred universities.

School director Boonyapong Phowattanathanat has asked the National Institute of Educational Testing Service for permission to reschedule the test for Monday or Tuesday (February 25 or 26).

The exams have already twice been postponed, both times because the general election date was moved.

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