320 conscripted by military in Banglamung

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Red and black cards held the fate of nearly 1,100 Pattaya-area men who lined up in Banglamung to see if they would be conscripted into Thailand’s military.

The Royal Thai Army and Navy took 320 of the 1,099 conscripted at their annual enlistment event April 9-10 at the Banglamung District Office. All Thai male nationals at age 21 must submit themselves for the draft, although many are turned away for not meeting physical requirements, excused for educational reasons or dismissed due to too many applicants.

A group of transvestites in the crowd also found they were not welcome.

A group of transvestites did their duty and showed up for the annual military conscription lottery, but were turned away.A group of transvestites did their duty and showed up for the annual military conscription lottery, but were turned away.

Recruiting official Kumthorn Tharawanchitr said a new law took effect this year that exempts transsexuals from a requirement they obtain certificates from doctors and psychiatrists to be excused from military service. Transvestites still need a doctor’s form.

The men from Nongprue, Huay Yai, Nong Plalai, Khao Maikaew, Takientia, and Pong sub-districts excitedly completed applications, took blood tests and physicals, and were measured for height and weight.

The decision came down to a drawing of cards; red meant conscription and black excused them. Families traditionally cheer on the drawing much like a sporting event and, for many, a red card is welcomed.

Lt. Col. Peerapan Chuea-asa said every year a few straight men dress up as women in hopes of being excused from service. It never works, he said.