Thai King fires palace bedroom guards for ‘violent conduct,’ adultery

Thai King fires palace bedroom guards for ‘violent conduct,’ adultery
Copyright 2019 CNN

Thailand’s King has fired four more palace officials, the latest in a series of high profile public dismissals that include his own royal consort.

According to an official notice from the Thai Royal Household on Tuesday, King Maha Vajiralongkorn dismissed two palace officials for committing adultery and unspecified “violent conduct.”

No details were given of their alleged misconduct, but the statement said the two had been tasked with overseeing the royal palace bedrooms.

They were both stripped of their military ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and royal decorations.

In another palace announcement, two military officers were fired for “lacking awareness of being a royal guard officer” and for behavior “not being up to the standard of rank and position.”

The dismissals follow a turbulent few weeks at the palace. On October 22, the King stripped his royal consort of her titles, status, and military ranks for being “disloyal,” only three months after she was anointed.

Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, 34, had been bestowed the title of Royal Noble Consort on July 28, the first woman to be given the rank in nearly a century — but the palace announcement accused her of trying to obstruct the King’s wife from being crowned queen.

The notice said the King had anointed Sineenat the title of Royal Noble Consort in the hopes she would “change her behavior and acts,” but she continued to act “disloyal, ungrateful, and ungracious of His Majesty’s kindness” and sought to become “equivalent with the queen.”

Just days later, the palace announced the dismissal of six palace officials for “severe disciplinary misconduct.” They ranged from officials in the police and army, to a “khun ying,” or a lady in the Royal Household, and a high-ranking police lieutenant general of the Royal Household Bureau.

“His Majesty the King’s order accused them of severe disciplinary misconduct and exploiting their bureaucratic position for personal gains,” the palace statement read.

The palace statements on Tuesday made no link between the firing of the 10 officials and the stripping of Sineenat’s titles.

The series of dismissals and the palace statements give a rare insight into the inner workings of the royal household and the new King, who was crowned in May.

“This royal purge of aides, military officers and the royal consort in a very public way tell us that Thailand’s new monarch aims to practice highly centralized control over the palace, and perhaps, by extension, the entire kingdom of Thailand,” said Paul Chambers, a lecturer at the College of Asean community studies at Thailand’s Naresuan University.

Strict lese majeste laws prohibit insulting or defaming the monarchy and carry a prison term of up to 15 years for each count. Because of these restrictions, the media — including CNN — can only report certain details about senior members of the royal family.

CNN’s Jessie Yeung contributed reporting.