Reports in several outlets, while vague, suggest that another round of pre-succession royal household cleansing is underway.
Khaosod reports that police”have set up a taskforce to prosecute individuals who have falsely claimed to be linked to the Royal Family for personal gain, without publicly identifying any suspects.”
Late last year and early this year, there were a spate of case under this broad heading, all of which had to do with expelling Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s then wife’s family from the palace and relationships with the prince’s household (amongst all the posts at the time, see here, here, here, here, there, here and also here).
Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda, reminiscent of claims made late last year, stated that “a group of individuals have been falsely claiming [ties to] the High Institution [he means the monarchy] to commit inappropriate acts…”. He stated that these claims may amount to lese majeste. Again, last year and early this year, lese majeste charges were used to jail some 30 persons associated with former Princess Srirasmi.
The new crackdown apparently requires “a task force of 19 high-ranking police officers has been created with deputy police chief Sriwarah Rangsipramnakul in charge. Central Investigation Bureau deputy commander Thitirat Nonghanpithak was named as Sriwarah’s second-in-command for the operation.” Such high-ranking appointments suggest that this cleansing is at the top of the palace.
Prachatai reports that the first casualty in this crackdown may be well-known fortune teller Suriyan Sujaritpalawong, who was previously said to be “a close aide to the 60-year-old Crown Prince and a chief organizer of the Bike For Mom event…”.
Naewna News Online reported a rumor that Suriyan “was arrested at his house by police officers on allegations under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, lese majeste law.” Police deny the report.
Prachatai also reports that the District Chief of Wat Sing District of Chainat Province has filed a lese majeste complaint against Ratchanon B., accused of claiming to be “working for the Royal Projects with the authorisation of Princess Sirindhorn, the Crown Princess [sic.] in order to trick others to donate money on a charity scam.”
Whoever is involved and the reason for the investigations may never be explained as opaque palace politics remains the norm. Still, something unusual is underway.