Fri, Sep 07, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Volunteers boost support, visibility for Thai king

Reuters, BANGKOK

“The king wants the volunteers to be a kind of ‘Sue Pa,’” Sulak Sivaraksa, an academic who has sometimes been a critic of the monarchy, told reporters, referring to the Wild Tiger Corps — a paramilitary force founded in 1911 by Vajiravudh that was inspired by the British Volunteer Force.

He “wants the monarchy to serve the people, to protect the people, to do well for the people,” said Sulak, 86.

The volunteer force raised by Vajiralongkorn is not armed.

The volunteers are able to do things that the government might otherwise not be able to, because of their royal backing, Sulak said.

“If the government asked them they wouldn’t do it,” Sulak said. “The program is one of the great successes of the new king.”

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