Sineenat was accused of ingratitude and misbehavior, the disappearances and apparent killings of at least eight leading opposition figures, China 1945: Mao’s Revolution and America’s Fateful Choice. One of the leaders of the protests, a local fish farmer named Sarayoot Souraksa, described in succinct terms how people in the region of 4 million people felt about the country’s past turmoil and the coup that put an end to it. Is Thailand threatening to sue Facebook? He is famous for his dedication to his pet poodle, Foo Foo, which was awarded the rank of Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force and given its own Wikipedia page. The Thai king, the crop top, and a poodle. When the dog died last year, it was given a four-day funeral complete with Buddhist rites before being cremated in an extravagant ceremony. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. “Take the Belt and Road project,” he said, referring to Beijing’s plan for a network of ports, railroads, energy corridors, and shipping lanes aimed at making China the center of a vast Eurasian economic network. Among at least 35 activists currently facing charges under the lese majeste law is 16-year-old Napasin Trirayapiwat, who wore a crop top and had anti-monarchy slogans written on his midriff at a protest. The gates to the old zoo are locked shut. It wasn’t lost on many Thais that the king himself had five children with a now-dismissed mistress while he was still married to his second wife (that mistress and four of the five children have since been disowned and are now living in the United States; the youngest child and only daughter lives in Thailand as a royal). sions among the country’s elite as to who should succeed King Bhumibol. THAILAND could lose all access to Facebook today after footage of its heavily-tattooed king strolling around in a crop top went viral. In the Philippines, for example, President Rodrigo Duterte has emerged as a sort of elected strongman, carrying out a supposed war on drugs that has resulted, according to human rights groups, in more than 20,000 extrajudicial killings. In effect, it gives him control of a personal private army. “I thought that Vajiralongkorn would be so lacking in moral authority that he wouldn’t get the support of the various sectors of society that he needs. The crop top is a reference to pictures showing the king dressed in one which have appeared in European tabloids in recent years. Thai protestors chant slogans outside the king's daughter's boutique against the insult laws passed by the palace. I hired a car to look at the royal compound, though it’s not easy to get glimpses inside. Thailand activists stage crop-top protest against lèse-majesté law. While his day job required him to dress conservatively, King Vajiralongkorn … The King of Thailand went on a shopping trip in a crop top, someone posted it to Facebook and the King was NOT happy. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Indeed, the old politics was breeding such extreme conflict that Thailand was in danger of civil war. The universally held belief in Bangkok is that she was thrown into the Bangkok women’s prison; on exactly what legal authority other than the king’s demand, nobody is saying. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts to all who need them. LONG LIVE THE KING! But I was wrong,” Chachavalpongpun continued. But then things got even stranger. People of Thailand, meet your new king. BANGKOK — The new king of Thailand is into his fashion, but unfortunately the Thai government doesn’t want its citizens to know that. In a country where polygamy has been banned for 100 years, the king seemed to be saying that a kind of polygamy would be a prerogative of the monarch (and nobody else). Some would prefer the Crown Prince’s younger sister, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, to take the throne but Thai law forbids a female monarch. She was also pictured in the cockpit of a fighter jet and wearing a gray camouflage pattern crop-top at the controls of a light aircraft. Millions rely on Vox’s explainers to understand an increasingly chaotic world. His removal of two crack army regiments in the Bangkok area from the usual chain of command and putting them under his own authority is among them. The Thai royal family has some pretty draconian laws when it comes to … “Yes,” he replied. “It’s all a way of making his power formal, visible,” one person whispered to me. In return, they have faced police water cannons and tear gas, angry royalist mobs and an … With King Bhumibol Adulyadej old and ailing, many worried the Thai monarchy would atrophy into irrelevance once his playboy son ascended to the throne. Bangkok: Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, who is set to be crowned King of Thailand after his father King Bhumibhol died on Thursday, is a womaniser, wears crop tops … Richard Bernstein is a former foreign correspondent at Time magazine and the New York Times. Since the military coup of 2014, at least 68 people have been arrested or imprisoned under these laws, according to Human Rights Watch. This crop-top sporting, tattooed bad boy rules over one of the major nations of Southeast Asia. … A private army would be very useful if there were ever a coup attempt, including a move against him from some dissenting faction in the army. “I thought that Thailand would end up having a weak king,” Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a scholar of Thai politics and a dissident exiled from the country when Vajiralongkorn’s father was still king, told me in a Skype interview from Japan, where he lives. Fears of a potentially powerful partnership between Mr Shinawatra and the future king were reported to have been the motivation in part for military coups in 2006 and 2014. Unusually for a Thai king, however, Vajiralongkorn spends most of his time in Bavaria, where he has been snapped wearing skimpy crop tops, sometimes with elaborate temporary tattoos splayed across his back and arms. The unpredictable King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is suffering mass protests in Bankok, has now been accused of breaking his sister’s ankles. His body was even adorned in FAKE tattoos. STROLLING in a German shopping centre, covered in tattoos and wearing a preposterous yellow crop top, the scruffy guy looked about as far from … “When he came to the throne, he looked at the past ... and he said, ‘Why should I let any of that go?’”. There is no such regent anymore in Thailand. A portrait of Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej seen at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre in Bangkok on October 15, 2016. “For the Chinese, it’s easier to deal with strongmen than with democratic governments,” one Thai businessman told me in Bangkok. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Chip in as little as $3 to help keep Vox free for all. The reverence for the king has long been enforced by the country’s lèse-majesté laws, which outlaw “defaming, insulting, or threatening” of a member of the royal family — including, for example, “Liking” that mall video on Facebook. Thais who know about such things say his army is equipped with armored personnel carriers, anti-riot gear, and helicopters. In fact he is known more for his eclectic dress sense, scandal-plagued past and failed marriages than any regal qualities. The fears about his ascension to power go deeper than concerns about his romantic life and canine commitment. Thailand is putting the squeeze on Facebook to remove dozens of pages that have video of King Maha Vajiralongkorn wearing a crop top. But when the subject turns to the king, most people lapse into an awkward silence or, if they do say something, look cautiously around them to make sure no unknown person is listening. Amid the turmoil, prominent members of Thailand’s ruling class have reportedly been killed in a sign of what could become a more widespread conflict. When Sineenat was installed for her brief reign as noble royal consort, official photographs of the ceremony showed her lying on the floor, making hand gestures of fealty, while Vajiralongkorn sat imperiously on a gilded throne above her. The world knows Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn as a playboy who has churned through four wives, lives among lots of women in a German hotel and relishes skimpy crop tops … Thaksin put into place several programs, like low-cost universal health care, aimed at alleviating rural poverty and appealing to his base. The bizarre clip of King Maha Vajiralongkorn waltzing around a shopping centre alongside a woman has gone viral, The Sun reports. Vajiralongkorn does none of that, cultivating instead an image of sternness, command, and Olympian distance from ordinary people. “Some people have gone to jail,” Sirapop Kornaroot, known as Rungsila, a dissident poet recently released after five years of detention, told me. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. The second wife left the country when the relationship ended. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. But he also gave rise to a kind of middle- and upper-class terror that he was dictatorial and corrupt, and that his populist appeal challenged the sustained privilege of wealthy Bangkok elites. “Any other reasons they support the government?” I asked. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. The cable records officials saying the Crown Prince “could not stop either, nor would he be able, at age 57, to rectify his behaviour”. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. How do people feel about him becoming king? It’s an immense rectangle, surrounded by newly renovated walls surmounted by the yellow flag of the monarchy. To get a sense of that, I spent a day in November in an area of fish farms and rice paddies in Chachoengsao province southwest of Bangkok to talk to members of an environmental group opposed to a planned industrial zone called the Eastern Economic Corridor. All four countries have another thing in common, namely close and cordial relations with nearby authoritarian China, which has used its power and wealth to promote authoritarianism throughout its region. Public criticism of the king or his family is illegal under Thailand's strict lese majeste laws, with insults to the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He spent much of his working life training with armed forces in Britain and the US, winning an array of military titles and a pilot’s license after developing a love of aviation. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Thailand threatens to sue Facebook after videos emerge of king in crop top wandering in German shopping centre In one of them, for example, he eliminated a requirement that when the king is out of the country, which Vajiralongkorn is most of the time, his authority would revert to a regent. | Photo Credit: Reuters . His first – to his cousin – reportedly included him fathering five children with a mistress, who he then married instead. “There’s a mutual interdependence between the military and the monarchy. A new constitution written by the coup leaders allowed an election to take place in March 2019, but the new law gives the military so many automatic seats in parliament that it would be almost impossible for an opposition party to take control. Thailand’s new king is a kooky crop top-wearing playboy By David K. Li. In Thai society, the king is a figure of inestimable importance, a Hindu-Buddhist paragon of presumed dignity, virtue, and morality — none of which Vajiralongkorn seemed to be exhibiting on his stroll through the mall. BANGKOK — The new king of Thailand is into his fashion, but unfortunately the Thai government doesn’t want its citizens to know that. All of these countries have retained what a Filipino journalist, Marites Vitug, called “the trappings of power” in a conversation I had with her in Manila. Two years later, huge Yellow Shirt demonstrations took place. It’s clear that nobody wants to be heard saying anything negative or derogatory about Vajiralongkorn. 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