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Crackdown urged after 2 killed in student brawl

The families of those killed in the shooting incident on Wednesday on Bangkok bus number 59 are calling on the authorities to take tougher measures and permanently close schools that are unable to control their students.

On Wednesday evening, six students, believed to be from the Don Muang Technical College, opened fire at a group of Thaivichitsilp School students on the Rangsit-Victory Monument bus. The shootout killed Thaivichitsilp freshman Wanchai Thongsongkaew, 21, and passenger Yupa Plai-ngam, 48, and injured two others.

The Thaivichitsilp School was forced to close down for a week yesterday, while its executives will meet their counterparts from the Don Muang Technical College today to discuss the problem. The college has not been punished yet because it has not been confirmed if the culprits hailed from this school.

Yupa's husband Lerngchai, collecting his wife's body at the Police General Hospital morgue yesterday, said they had been married for 15 years and that she took this bus to and from her job daily. He called on the authorities to take tougher measures and close schools that cannot control their students. He said Yupa had mentioned student brawls on this route, but refused to take air-conditioned buses because she wanted to save money.

Wanchai's parents, Pol Snr Sgt-Major Wana Thongsongkaew and Atchariya Yardnam, also came to collect their youngest son's body. "At first I didn't think it was my son, but when I saw the body, my knees went weak," Wana said.

He said Wanchai was studying for a higher vocational certificate at his old school on the quiet even though is father wanted him to go to university. The distraught father called on the killers to turn themselves in, saying he was trying very hard to forgive the person who killed his son. However, the mother said she would never forgive the killer and hoped he would be captured soon.

City police deputy chief Pol Maj-General Pisit Pisutsak said arrest warrants would be issued today according to the sketches. Based on security camera footage, police summoned a cabbie that one of the students had hailed. Also initial investigation revealed that Wanchai did not have any prior conflicts and was killed because he came from a "rival institution".

Region 1 Army Commander Lt-General Udomdet Sitabut said the military, if provided enough monetary support, could bring back the project that put rowing students in a boot camp.

In related news, another student brawl broke out at 9am yesterday at a bus stop in front of a Major Cineplex Mall in Nonthaburi's Muang district resulting in six students being injured. The police later managed to arrest 16 students believed to be involved.


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