Thailand's King fires palace officials for 'extremely evil' conduct

BANGKOK • Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has dismissed six palace officials for "extremely evil" conduct, according to a palace announcement yesterday, in a shake-up that comes days after the sacking of the King's royal consort.

The six included a woman, a senior police official and two royal guards.

Two separate announcements published in the official royal gazette yesterday accused the six of severe disciplinary misconduct that caused harm to the royal service, and said they had been fired and stripped of all their official ranks.

"The King has ordered their dismissal from royal service... because of their severe disciplinary misconduct and deeds that are considered extremely evil," one of the announcements said.

Reuters was unable to reach the six officials for comment.

Former royal consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi was stripped of her titles in an extraordinary announcement on Monday, just months after the King made her his royal noble consort - the first such appointment in almost a century.

A palace statement on Monday accused Ms Sineenat of being "disloyal" and conducting a rivalry with Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana, who married King Vajiralongkorn in May, just days before his elaborate coronation.

Ms Sineenat's whereabouts since her dismissal are not known.

Yesterday's statements did not directly link the six sacked officials to Ms Sineenat's dismissal.

Since taking the throne following the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in 2016, King Vajiralongkorn has proved to be an assertive constitutional monarch, taking more direct control of royal affairs and the crown's vast wealth, and transferring two military units from the Royal Thai Army to his personal control.

 

Public criticism of the king or the royal family is illegal under Thailand's strict lese majeste laws, with insults to the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'Thailand's King fires palace officials for 'extremely evil' conduct'. Print Edition | Subscribe