10 Thai soldiers wanted over death of conscript

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BANGKOK: Thai police have accused ten soldiers of beating a 22-year-old army conscript to death in a military prison, as the army races to limit damage from the scandal unfolding during its annual draft. News of the death on April 1 emerged just as the armed forces launched an annual conscription exercise that will see some 100,000 men aged 21 and over enlisted into the military for up two years. Private Yutthakinun Boonniam, 22, died one day after being taken to hospital from the army prison in the southern province of Surat Thani. Doctors said he suffered kidney failure after a sustained beating with a hard object. Images purportedly of the victim and circulated on social media showed his face swollen nearly beyond recognition. His mother has told local media her son was beaten in the military prison for minor disciplinary offenses including oversleeping and missing guard duty. On Wednesday a military court approved arrest warrants, for nine soldiers accused of “a gang assault that resulted in death,” Surat Thani’s police chief Apichart Boonsrirote told Agence France-Presse. A tenth, who is an officer, is also being sought but no arrest warrant was granted since he is not deemed a flight risk.

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