Chao Laem joins fight against child boxers law
FORMER Thai professional boxer “Chao Laem Srisaket Sor Rungvisai” has joined a demonstration against a draft bill to prohibit children under 12 from muay thai fighting.
The support of the two-time WBC super flyweight champion, now known as Pol Lance Corporal Wisaksil Wangek, was announced by “Muaythaionline Fan Club” Facebook page owner and lawyer Sukit Parekrithawet after a Bangkok meeting yesterday on the matter by Thai boxing insiders.
Chao Laem became a muay thai fighter at age 7, long before he became a boxer, the lawyer said.
Sukit’s comment was made after the meeting at 13 Rian Tower restaurant (Rama IX branch) involving high-profile persons in the muay thai circle, including Srimuang Singsuanngern, the owner and manager of Kaewsamrit Gym; muay thai fighters Khiewpayak and Panpayak Jitmuangnon, and Pathum Thani’s Rangsit Muaythai International Arena boss Amnuay Ketbumrung, as well as coaches and youthful fighters.
File photo // The Nation Photo
They were there to provide inputs on a draft amendment to the 1999 Boxing Act. Sport Authority of Thailand’s Muay Sport Committee Office director Prasert Tanmee was invited to the meeting, but said he was called to another urgent meeting on the same issue by Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat.
Prasert’s absence was a reflection of the Thai government’s lack of sincerity for public inputs on the bill, charged Sukit, adding that the muay thai people’s gathering was a peaceful way to express their views to related agencies.
“This is unstoppable because consideration of the draft law must be completed by November 30 to be in effect from next January,” said Sukit. “I talked to the boxing champion, Srisaket, who said he was a muay thai fighter since the age of 7 and he confirmed he wanted to join a protest march calling for justice. Since the government people won’t come to hear us, we will have to take it to the streets to make our demands in this matter,” he said.
Sukit said the law, if passed, would affect many people in the muay thai circles, go against a long-held tradition and the reality of muay thai tournaments, and cut the opportunities for physical training and financial earning for 300,000 youths nationwide.
Besides barring children under 12 from muay thai and requiring that older teen fighters wear protective gear and be formally registered, the draft legislation also threatens boxers and referees who rig bouts with up to five years in prison and fines of up to Bt100,000.
Referees caught accepting a bribe to fix a match could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined Bt200,000.
The amendment has been welcomed by children’s rights and health advocates, academics and medical professionals. They are concerned about possible violations of the rights of under-15 muay thai fighters and the potential for punches and kicks to cause brain damage.