CHIANG RAI (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The chief of Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district has emphasised that Thai citizenship will be granted based on the law, and that no exceptions will be made for four of the footballers rescued from the cave who are stateless citizens.
"I understand that society wants the rescued boys to get citizenship. But we have to comply with the law," Mae Sai district chief Somsak Khanakham said.
He was speaking after news reports said some Mu Pa Academy members were stateless.
The 12 footballers and their coach were stranded inside the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province for more than two weeks before a spectacular rescue operation.
Somsak said the four rescued footballers who did not have Thai citizenship were coach Ekkapon Chantawongse, 25, Pornchai Khamluang, 16, Mongkol Boonpium, 13, and Adul Samon, 14.
According to the Mae Sai district chief, the stateless footballers had called on him for help with their citizenship about two months ago. He said he had already offered them advice.
Somsak said he heard that Ekkapon had already contacted the authorities but had yet to submit all the required documents. "For children, their parents must be the ones to submit the request for citizenship," he said.