FOR POL COLONEL Nateepat Akarapongthiti, the pain of losing his cadet son due to inappropriate punishment by older students at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS) has never died down.
“Had he been still alive today, he would have already been a captain,” the grieving father lamented yesterday.
His son, Karan Orachorn, died of water intoxication on May 20, 2007, after he was forced by senior students to drink up to 40 litres of water as punishment for falling asleep while on guard duty.
“I used to hope that my son would be the last victim who died because of an improper penalty at AFAPS,” Nateepat said.
Earlier this month, the family of Pakhapong “Meay” Tanyakan, an 18-year-old first-year AFAPS student, came forward to voice their suspicion that his death on October 17 this year might have been related to an inappropriate punishment.
Nateepat recommended that all sides involved in Pakhapong’s case talk and stop quarrelling uselessly via social media.
“I understand the pain of the parents. So, I hope all sides will talk rationally,” he said.
Nateepat said he could still recall vividly how his son died but he had learned to forgive in the end.
“It’s not easy. During the first four years, I was so angry that I vowed to pursue legal action against everyone involved, to the end. But after that I have seriously embraced dhamma, and my emotional wounds healed significantly. Forgiving is a great act of giving. So, I forgive,” he said.
After his son’s death, the Nakhon Phanom Provincial Court delivered guilty verdicts and gave suspended jail terms to six AFAPS students. One of them was dismissed from the school.
In delivering his closing statement to the court, Nateepat made it clear that he no longer intends to pursue further criminal or civil proceedings against those involved in his son’s death.
He said he felt sorry for those who made a mistake back in 2007.
“Whenever I see them these days, they will offer their apologies,” he said.
He also relented as he thought it would be painful for his wife and his other child to keep hearing how his son died.