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News Forum - School principal given 50 years in prison over lunch corruption scandal in Thailand


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Today, Thailand’s Criminal Court for Corruption sentenced the former principal of Ban Tha Mai School in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand, to 50 years imprisonment. The defendant Somchaow Sittichen confessed to stealing lunch money and serving kindergarten children plain rice noodles with fish sauce for lunch. The court found Somchaow guilty of 77 counts of corruption, each carrying a five-year sentence. Initially, the court sentenced the ex-principal to 385 years in prison. However, his actual prison sentence cannot be higher than 50 years according to Section 91(3) of the penal code. The law states that anyone found guilty of multiple […]

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So I take it that there is no "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibition in Thailand.  I wish there were more details so we could calculate a ratio of shitty lunches to days in jail according to this insane judge because s/he sentenced this guy originally to 140,000 days in jail.  

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45 minutes ago, Johntucker said:

50 years for stealing nutritious food from children who need it to develop into healthy individuals seems fair to me.

Finally, someone who gets it.

School lunch program is very important for impoverished students. For some, it may be only nutritious meal of the day. The failure to nourish children properly prevents them from learning and can result in mentally deficient adults. Intentional malnutrition is child abuse.: It may not leave the immediate broken limbs and bruises of an assault but it indirectly results in broken bones, and other  physical injury. Consider this a case of  thousands of children being abused over several years, and the penalty becomes reasonable.

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1 hour ago, Vigo said:

Finally, someone who gets it.

School lunch program is very important for impoverished students. For some, it may be only nutritious meal of the day. The failure to nourish children properly prevents them from learning and can result in mentally deficient adults. Intentional malnutrition is child abuse.: It may not leave the immediate broken limbs and bruises of an assault but it indirectly results in broken bones, and other  physical injury. Consider this a case of  thousands of children being abused over several years, and the penalty becomes reasonable.

Great post!

 

I remember 1st going to Cambodia back in 2003 or some time around then and noticing the stark differences in how undernourished and less healthy Cambodians looked vs Thais

 

Malnutrition has real consequences and what this Principal did is pure evil

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3 hours ago, Johntucker said:

50 years for stealing nutritious food from children who need it to develop into healthy individuals seems fair to me.

Well, then you're just as insane as the judge.  And it was 385 years imposed by the hysterical judge, limited by Thai law against hysterics to 50 years.  It's also kind of scary how you completely miss my original point about proportionality -- you don't even seem to care whether it was for one day or one year.  You are the antithesis of reason and the root cause of why democracy is failing.  

Edited by JMJM
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4 hours ago, JMJM said:

So I take it that there is no "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibition in Thailand.  I wish there were more details so we could calculate a ratio of shitty lunches to days in jail according to this insane judge because s/he sentenced this guy originally to 140,000 days in jail.  

 

 

He was found guilty on 77 counts that carry 5 years, so that's 385 years. That's what he was found guilty of and the sentencing gudelines

 

But he of course only got the 50 years by law, which is actually less than the life sentence.....

 

Many court rulings have sentences like that

They are found guilty of multiple counts with x amount of years but served cocurrently so they don't serve all the combined years

 

 

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6 hours ago, JMJM said:

my original point about proportionality

Your original point doesn't take into account that there are hundreds of victims, children who cannot defend themselves and will probably live shorter lives just because this principal thinks his lavish lifestyle precedes over that of hundreds of children.

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What this guy did was clearly evil. He certainly deserves a long long prison sentence. I think the problem many are having with the length of the sentence is due to what seem like inequality. People can embezzle millions from tax payers or just literally steal it, and get 10 years. This ridiculously long sentence is a product of Thai law. There’s no doubt it looks insane and will be another Thai story that makes Thailand look backward. Why would any law book accumulate to anything that was longer than normal life expectancy. Why isn’t there a way for the judge just give him life. 
 

The other side to this of course is what were the teachers, cooks and parents doing while this was going on. Surely they noticed the quality of the food? Oh I forgot, you can’t ask questions about your boss or anyone who looks in authority here. Maybe the world seeing Thailand as backward due to this isn’t so unreasonable then after all. 

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12 hours ago, JMJM said:

Well, then you're just as insane as the judge.  And it was 385 years imposed by the hysterical judge, limited by Thai law against hysterics to 50 years.  It's also kind of scary how you completely miss my original point about proportionality -- you don't even seem to care whether it was for one day or one year.  You are the antithesis of reason and the root cause of why democracy is failing.  

The only thing I see here as disproportional is your reaction. I absolutely agree with the punishment dished out. The damage been done to these kids is permanent and by no means redeemable with what ever sentence. But it should serve as a deterrent to others. Now I do agree with you that the sentences handed out for murders, rape and other serious crimes are much to lenient, and should be much harsher.

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all countries in the world have inequalities in sentencing, it depends on the judge and sometimes the political situation, this guy commited this crime a while ago, but since then Children have become a very sensitive topic in Thailand. This guy deserved to be punished. I'm not sure the sentence is proportionate compared to someone who knocks someone down and kills someone at a zebra crossing who only gets only one year and a 4k fine, but theres the inequality I mentioned.

Hopefully other school principals who are open to corruption will think very carefully or they will be next. Well done to the government for sending an important message, if only you could use this broad brush of justice on everyone who commits a serious crime.,

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