A total of 422 youngsters aged between 13-15, most of them girls, were reported to have gone missing last year, according to the Mirror Foundation.
Speaking at a press conference on the situation of missing youth last year at the Police General Hospital, Mr Ekkalak Lumchomkhae, head of the foundation’s missing persons’ information centre, said altogether 422 youngsters were reported to have gone missing and, of these, the number of girls was three times higher than boys’.
The major reasons, he clarified, were domestic violence, eloped with boy friends or were lured by online acquaintances.
Mr Ekkalak said that although the number of missing youth had steadily declined in the past three years, the problem remains a matter of serious concern because several of the missing youth voluntarily ran away from homes.
He also disclosed that, in the past four years, 12 of the missing persons were found to be murdered, with three cases remain unresolved because the perpetrators have not been caught.
The three cases concern a seven-year old Cambodian boy who was found dead in 2010; a two-year old toddler whose skeleton was found in Nakhon Si Thammarat; and a six-year old youngster who was murdered in Phuket.
Meanwhile, Pol Col Watee Assawutmangkoon of the Institute of Forensic Science said that the institute had collected 1,292 genetic samples of children under the care of orphanages throughout the country since 2010.
Pol Col Chaiwat Burana, a superintendent attached to the Office of Police Forensic Science, said police, in cooperation with the Mirror Foundation, had drawn up the updated sketches of seven missing youths as their facial appearance might have changed as they grew up.
The latest age-progression sketch is that of Patthawan Insuk who went missing since she was 4 years old and now should be seven years old.