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Thai teacher caught caning students

Secretly recorded mobile phone footage has exposed a teacher at a Catholic boarding school in north-eastern Thailand who whacked dozens of students on the buttocks with a cane wrapped with electrical wire.

Art teacher Somchai Limthanmaporn was fired after he was exposed hitting at least 40 students, according to Nongkran Prathumtri, an administrator at St Mary's School in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. She said the school would not defend him.

The footage of last week's canings was aired on Monday on Thai television.

Parents of the students at St Mary's have already filed complaints with police over the beatings, meted out as punishment to students who failed to clean their living quarters.

In the clip secretly recorded by one of the students, Somchai delivered baseball-like swings at their buttocks, leaving at least one of his targets in tears. Pictures of scarred buttocks were widely shown in the Thai media.

"He must be responsible for his wrongdoing," Nongkran told TNN television news. "There will be no protection from the school."

Thailand's Education Ministry prohibits any inhuman or violent punishment and only allows the use of verbal warnings, probation and termination in the event that teachers have evidence to warrant punishing their students. However, the use of corporal punishment is not unusual.

Neither the school nor police handling the case could be directly contacted.

Because Somchai was not a full-time accredited teacher, he cannot face any professional sanctions from the Teachers' Council of Thailand, reported the newspaper Matichon. Legal action remains up to the police.

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