Thai King dismisses 4 more palace officials

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida at an event in Bangkok last week commemorating the death of King Chulalongkorn, also known as King Rama V.
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida at an event in Bangkok last week commemorating the death of King Chulalongkorn, also known as King Rama V.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK • Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn has sacked another group of palace officials and stripped them of their titles, bringing the number of such officials removed this month to nearly a dozen.

On Tuesday, two bedroom guards were sacked for committing adultery, which the palace described as "extremely evil misconduct". It is considered to be a breach of the code of conduct for courtiers.

Lieutenant-Colonel Makaruek Koosumran, one of the two sacked, was in March 2017 dismissed from the King's Guard military unit and stripped of his military rank for carelessness in carrying out his duties "leading to serious damages to official matters". An announcement published on the Royal Gazette website also cited his lack of qualifications for the job.

Three months after his sacking, he was not only reinstated but also promoted to lieutenant-colonel to work under the king's supervision.

The other sacked bedroom guard, Lieutenant-Colonel Ekachai Koograsang, had also been fired abruptly in January 2017 as a royal guard. No explanation was given then for his sacking. But a month later, he was reinstated and transferred to the civilian division of the palace under the king's supervision.

The two were not the first palace officials to be sacked by the king for adultery. In March, a sub-lieutenant, Chad Boonruen, was removed for a similar reason.

Also on Tuesday, two lieutenants in the King's Guard were dismissed for being "lax" in their duties, "behaviour unbecoming of their ranks and titles" and "lacking conscience" as soldiers in the King's Guard.

All four of those sacked also had their pension privileges revoked.

Last Wednesday, six palace officials were fired and stripped of their ranks for "extremely evil misconduct". All were accused of failing to comply with rules set for officials and misusing their positions for their own gain.

 
 
 
 

Half of the group was made up of women - a general, a lady-in-waiting or Khunying as they are referred to in the palace, and a major.

Last week's dismissals took place two days after the unexpected move to strip Ms Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, 34, of her position as the Royal Noble Consort and military rank as a major-general for trying to sabotage Queen Suthida's coronation and her status as the queen. A two-page palace announcement said Ms Sineenat had wanted to be the queen.

Ms Sineenat's current whereabouts are not known but the quick rise and fall of the former nurse, who is also a pilot, has shocked the kingdom.

None of the palace announcements have linked the dismissed officials to the fallen consort.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2019, with the headline 'Thai King dismisses 4 more palace officials'. Print Edition | Subscribe