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Army to turn violent students into 'gentlemen'

The Royal Thai Army has agreed to help the Education Ministry arrange the "Vocational Gentlemen" programme to reform the behaviour of some 130 vocational students with histories of violence.

Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvej hopes to launch the programme as early as next month.

"It will last three months, during which time the students will receive training at a military base," he said yesterday.

He was speaking after a meeting with the Royal Thai Army's deputy chiefofstaff LtGeneral Surasak Kanjanarat.

During the discussion, available information suggested there were just 130 troublemaking students at 36 vocational schools or colleges behind the recent brawls. This is in addition to alumni who have encouraged the use of violence against members of rival institutes.

"We will reform these 130 students first and find a way to separate them from alumni who incite violence," Suchart said.

The training at the military base will focus on instilling discipline, ethics, gentlemanly behaviour and a willingness to sacrifice in the students, he said.

Education Ministry permanent secretary Sasithara Pichaichannarong said the Royal Thai Army would also dispatch officers to teach at vocational institutes from next semester onward.

Suchart said that as an immediate measure, all students of the 36 rival vocational institutes were now instructed to wear general student uniforms without any symbols that could identify their school.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Court yesterday approved arrest warrants for two more suspects involved in a bloody fight in the heart of Bangkok earlier this week.

One person was brutally beaten and receiving treatment at a hospital.

Huai Kwang police station deputy superintendent LtColonel Jarupat Thongkomon identified the two suspects as Pornpissanu Kanjanadul, 33, and Rattapon Sotawan, 27.

Pornpissanu pulled out a gun and opened fire, but no one was hit.

"They are charged with attempted murder and causing serious injury," Jarupat said. "We will track down three or four more of their accomplices."

Earlier this week, 26yearold Sutas Prathumchai was arrested in connection with the case. Sutas reportedly confessed to beating the victim.


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