Sun, Nov 12, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Thai royal aide sacked for ‘evil acts’: palace

NO RECOURSE:The former grand chamberlain was stripped of his decorations after he was accused of having an extramarital affair and forcing the woman to have an abortion

AFP, BANGKOK

A senior Thai royal official has been sacked for “evil acts” including having an extramarital affair and forcing his alleged mistress to get an abortion, the palace said, the latest top aide to be axed under King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Vajiralongkorn, 65, took the throne one year ago following the death of his widely revered father king Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for seven decades.

He has yet to attain his father’s widespread popularity, but remains insulated from any criticism by one of the world’s harshest royal defamation laws.

PALACE PURGE

Since ascending the throne the new monarch has axed a number of powerful palace officials from his father’s era.

The latest aide to fall from grace is Distorn Vajarodaya, a senior official in the Royal Household Bureau who served as grand chamberlain under the late king Bhumibol and was often seen by the ailing monarch’s side during the final years of his reign.

A statement published on Friday by the Royal Gazette stripped Distorn of his royal decorations and listed his alleged wrongdoings — including having an extramarital affair, “forcing” his mistress to get an abortion, and then coercing her into marrying another man.

“When the woman got pregnant for the second time, he forced her to have another abortion, but the woman refused. So he forced her to get married with another man she hadn’t had a relationship with,” the statement said.

ACCUSATIONS

Distorn was also accused of “using the King’s name to avoid taxation in importing a foreign vehicle” to replace a damaged royal car.

The aide also allegedly ordered staff to forge documents about a donation to a royal foundation he chaired.

Thailand’s lese majeste law, which criminalizes insulting the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison per offense, makes it impossible to publicly counter such charges.

Many of those purged from the new monarch’s inner circle have been charged with lese majeste and jailed.

In one of the most dramatic episodes, Vajiralongkorn divorced his third wife in late 2014 after half a dozen of her relatives were charged with lese majeste — and later jailed — for allegedly abusing their royal ties to him.

All media inside Thailand must heavily self-censor when reporting on the royal family to avoid falling foul of the defamation law.

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