Erasing the monarchy’s legal boundaries

15 01 2020

In a real constitutional monarchy, the monarch does not get (publicly) involved the day-to-day affairs of government. Thailand is not a real constitutional monarchy. Increasingly, King Vajiralongkorn is deeply involved in the regular affairs that are usually considered the work of government.

As far as PPT can discern, his interventions (and those in his name) are extra-constitutional.

Torsak

The most recent example of this is reported by Khaosod.

The Ratchawallop Police Retainers, King’s Guards 904, a commando unit attached to the king and answering to him, are involving themselves in an ongoing manhunt for a man who robbed a gold store and killed three in the process.

The cold-blooded murders, the manhunt and social media speculation that the murderer appeared to be military-trained, have made the investigation big news.

Perhaps it’s the publicity potential or maybe it is just the interventionist nature of the current monarch, but this maneuver into civilian affairs is bizarre and revealing.

Deputy commander of the Central Investigation Bureau Maj. Gen. Torsak Sukvimol, who was last reported to be head 1600-strong unit, visited the Ratchawallop Police Retainers, King’s Guards 904 to give “his moral support for the unit to swiftly identify and locate the robber…”.

Maj Gen Torsak is well-connected. He is reported to be the “younger brother of the King’s highly trusted Air Chief Marshal Sathitpong Sukwimol (secretary to the Crown Prince, Director-General of the Crown Property Bureau and the Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household Bureau).” Sathitpong is arguably the most powerful non-royal in the palace.

The king’s own police force was previously reported as being a special tactical unit of elite bodyguards “responsible for a variety of high-profile tasks, from providing security to the [r]oyal [f]amily to training local police in VIP protection.” Nowhere can we find any role for it in investigating everyday crimes.

Even so, Maj. Gen. Torsak “ordered the Ratchawallop Police Retainers to join the manhunt for the unidentified gunman on Jan. 10. The police unit was instructed to assist local police in the operation, and closely monitor the progress.”

It seems to us that King Vajiralongkorn is making any notion of constitutional monarchy untenable. This seems congruent with his power and land grabs and his erasure of the democratic and anti-monarchy beginnings of the constitutional monarchy.


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26 09 2020
King’s men | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] t-shirt and proudly supports a chestful of royal symbols of “closeness,” including the 904 and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti […]

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