Thai king fires six royal officials for ‘disciplinary misconduct’

Thai king fires six royal officials for ‘disciplinary misconduct’
Copyright 2019 CNN

The Thai King has fired six palace officials for “severe disciplinary misconduct,” only days after stripping his royal consort of her titles and military ranks.

According to two official notices from the Thai Royal Household on Wednesday, King Maha Vajiralongkorn dismissed six officials and stripped them of their ranks. They range from officials in the police and army, to a “khun ying,” or a lady in the Royal Household.

Among those dismissed is Sakolket Chantra — 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.

These dismissals are the latest development in a turbulent week at the palace. On Tuesday, 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 consort on July 28, the first woman to be given the rank by a King in nearly a century — but the palace announcement on Tuesday 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.”

“(Sineenat’s actions) caused division among the royal servants and led to misunderstanding among the public,” the notice said. “These amount to acts of sabotages against the country and the monarchy.”

The palace statements on Wednesday made no link between the firing of the six 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 — 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.