Thai King's health: Concerns mount as Prayut rushes back to Bangkok

Well-wishers hold pictures of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they pray for him at the Siriraj hospital.
Well-wishers hold pictures of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they pray for him at the Siriraj hospital.PHOTO: REUTERS

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej remains in an unstable condition in hospital, according to an official statement released late yesterday amid growing concerns about the world's longest-reigning monarch.

The update, which came three days after an uncharacteristically ominous-sounding statement by the Royal Household Bureau, said the King's blood pressure was lower and that he had an infection. His liver was not functioning fully.

Concerns over his condition mounted yesterday after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha abruptly cut short a provincial trip to return to Bangkok and scheduled royal engagements were cancelled.

Several of the King's relatives, including heir apparent, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, also turned up at the capital's Siriraj Hospital, where the 88-year-old monarch has been for most of the year.

The already jittery Thai stock market took a battering yesterday. Thailand's benchmark SET Index plunged by more than 6 per cent after lunchtime but recovered to a 2.5 per cent drop at closing.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2016, with the headline 'Thai King's health: Concerns mount as Prayut rushes back to Bangkok'. Print Edition | Subscribe