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Opposition MP denies avoiding military service

Democrat Party MP Sirichok Sopha, who represents Songkhla, yesterday denied dodging the draft after a general filed a complaint to the Defence Ministry accusing Sirichok and deputy party leader Korn Chatikavanij of escaping military conscription.

"The government is adopting an evil tactic to intimidate, discredit and distract the opposition from grilling ministers in the censure debate. I noticed that they either accuse us of dodging the draft or falsifying Sor Dor 43 documents. But we are not perturbed and will continue to perform our duty and are ready to be scrutinised,'' he said.

Sirichok said the report that he dodged the draft in Songkhla was wrong because he was born in Bangkok and was required to report for conscription in Pathum Wan district. However, the Civil Service Commission had granted him a Sor Dor 43 document 20 years ago that exempted him from military duty, he said.

According to a Defence Ministry source, the ministry panel that ruled to dismiss Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva from the Army Reserve, strip him of his military rank and recall his military salary has forwarded its resolution to the Ombudsman.

The panel has also received a request from an unspecified general to check whether Korn and Sirichok had evaded the draft or held falsified documents involving conscription.

The source said Korn was domiciled with Bangkok's Infantry Battalion of the 11th Army Circle and Sirichok with Songkhla's Infantry Battalion of the 42nd Army Circle. Both left Thailand for the United Kingdom to study in high school and a university and did not return to the country to attend the draft. They sought exemptions till they were beyond the legal age for compulsory service.

The Defence Ministry's panel has contacted both military units to see whether the two Democrats had committed offences as alleged.




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