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  HOME | Society (Click here for more)

Thai King Fires 4 Royal Guards in Ongoing Palace Purge

BANGKOK – Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has dismissed four royal guards for various offenses, according to the official state bulletin.

A Tuesday evening Royal Gazette statement said Vajiralongkorn had sacked two bedroom section guards for “evil actions” and “adultery,” and another two bodyguards for “misconduct” and failing to comply with the standards of their ranks. It further accused them of being “lax” in their adherence to the rules.

The layoffs mean 10 people have now been purged from the palace since the fall from grace of Vajiralongkorn’s royal consort, who was stripped of all titles for “disloyalty” last week. Niramon Ounprom was ousted from the palace for allegedly attempting to act against Queen Suthida’s appointment.

The royal announcement called Niramon “unfair,” “ambitious” and “ungrateful” to justify the withdrawal of her royal consort and other military and royal titles. This also revoked her right to use Sineenat Wongvajirapadki, her royally appointed name. Her whereabouts have since been unknown.

Last week, six other palace officials – including police, military and other workers, such as the one in charge of dogs and other animals – were dismissed for alleged indiscipline and personally benefiting from their posts, according to the Royal Gazette.

A former military hospital nurse, Niramon was named “noble royal consort” (“Chao Khun Phra”), in July – a title that had not been used in Thailand for almost 100 years. The appointment took the population by surprise, since Vajiralongkorn, 67, had married Suthida, 41, without prior notice in May – three days before his coronation.

The consort and the queen – a former flight attendant – shared a sentimental relationship with the monarch and were part of his elite circle. In the past, Thai monarchs were polygamous, a practice abandoned in the 20th century and legally abolished in 1935.

Niramon, 34, appeared in August posing hand in hand with the monarch in a series of official photographs published on the palace’s website – where she also appeared flying planes or in military uniform – and accompanied by a biography.

The king, who since his ascent to the throne has widened control over the palace’s estate and the country’s army units, has been married four times and has seven children.

Thailand has one of the toughest royal defamation laws in the world, making public debate about the monarchy almost impossible. Prison sentences for those deemed to have insulted or threatened the king, queen, prince, heir apparent, regent or members of the royal household range between 3-15 years.

 

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