Dutch tourists warned to abide by rules after Thai king's death

A group of Chinese tourists take a selfie next to the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand on Oct 3, 2016.
A group of Chinese tourists take a selfie next to the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand on Oct 3, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Dutch tourists to Thailand were warned Thursday (Oct 13) to avoid any "declarations or discussions critical of the royal family" in updated travel advice sent by the foreign ministry after the death of the Thai king.

The Netherlands also recommended that its citizens "follow the instructions of local authorities, and respect local customs and restrictions imposed on social life".

Thailand has said it will hold a one-year period of mourning following the death on Thursday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch.

The Dutch foreign ministry also advised tourists to follow events on local media and to always carry their identity papers with them.

Bhumibol's death at the age of 88 ends a remarkable seven-decade reign and plunges Thailand into a deeply uncertain future.

 

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Minutes after the ailing monarch's passing was announced, Thailand's junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha said there was to be an official one-year mourning period.

He also ordered that "all entertainment functions must tone it down for 30 days." Bangkok's notorious red light districts had already begun shutting up shop on Thursday evening as news of the king's passing spread.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders was on an official visit to Bangkok for a meeting between EU countries and Southeast Asian nations when the news was announced by the palace.

He praised the king as "a sovereign who was very respected and loved, who occupied the throne for 70 years. For decades, the king was a symbol of unity for the Thai people."