Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee

Mum and dadApiruj and Wantanee Suwadee were accused of lese majeste on 5 February 2015. After initially pleading their innocence, they quickly flipped and agreed to plead guilty. On or about 12 March 2015, they were sentenced to 5 years each, halved for the guilty pleas.

They are the parents of Srirasmi, the estranged wife of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. Apiruj was 72 years old at the time of conviction and Wantanee was 66.

In amongst the swathe of cases associated with the prince’s separation from his third wife, this charge were reportedly filed by Sawita Maneechan from Ratchaburi province. She accused Apiruj and Wantanee of using their royal connection to bully her in 2003, eventually having her jailed.

Sawita said that Wantanee had falsely accused her of having an affair with Apiruj and later used her royal connection to convince a high-ranking police officer to charge Sawita with fraud. She was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in jail because she confessed to what she claimed was a bogus charge.

Reporting on the case was limited, but the change of stories is interesting, reflecting the fear associated with the monarchy. On being charged, they were reported as making the following comments:

Both Apiruj and Wantanee denied the allegations this morning at a meeting with police officers at the Crime Suppression Division headquarters in Bangkok.

“I don’t know what to say,” Wantanee said. “I never knew [Sawita]. I don’t know who is who in her family. Please give us some fairness. We never knew anything about it. We never intended to bully anyone. You can make me swear oath on anything, I will do it.”

Not long after this changed to:

“We have confessed everything,” Wantanee said to reporters after the meeting, “What I have done, what I have said, I did not mean it. That is all. I have confessed to every allegation. I don’t want to say much. I only would like to say that I still love and revere the monarchy.”

Her husband told reporters, “I repent my crimes. I don’t know what I should say. I now repent the things I have done without thinking.”

This prompted police to babble: “”No one forced them to…. No one coerced or threatened them in any way.” No one believed the police.

In addition to Srirasmi’s parents, at least 27 arrest warrants have been issued to people in connection with the alleged crime network that operated in and around the prince’s household. Srirasmi was kicked out of the palace, stripped of her title, her royal surname was scrapped and the prince has their son.

The behavior seen in the prince’s household, while extreme, fits a pattern of royal excess, massive and unchallenged power and wealth, grasping greed and the use of state resources for personal gain. When there is a falling out in the royal gang, it can sometimes be public and extreme.

Media accounts of Apiruj and Wantanee’s case:

Khaosod, 11 August 2015: “Former Princess’ Mother Out From Prison For Medical Treatment, Official Says

Boston Globe, 12 March 2015: “Parents of Thai ex-princess jailed for insulting monarchy

Khaosod, 27 February 2015, “Parents of Former Princess Jailed After Lese Majeste Confession

Khaosod, 9 February 2015: “Parents of Former Princess Deny Lese Majeste Charges

Bangkok Post, 5 February 2015: “Ex-princess’ parents face charges

Khaosod, 5 February 2015: “Lese Majeste Charges Filed Against Parents of Former Princess

14 responses

11 02 2015
Family lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee have been accused of lese majeste. Khaosod reports on their appearance at police headquarters earlier this week. […]

11 02 2015
Family lese majeste | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee have been accused of lese majeste. Khaosod reports on their appearance at police headquarters earlier this week. […]

27 02 2015
Lese majeste as farce | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] 5 February, Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee were accused of lese majeste. The parents of Srirasmi, the estranged wife of Crown Prince […]

27 02 2015
Lese majeste as farce | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] 5 February, Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee were accused of lese majeste. The parents of Srirasmi, the estranged wife of Crown Prince […]

1 03 2015
Royals know nothing | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] lines referred to the sudden “confession” of lese majeste by Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee, the parents of Srirasmi, the estranged wife of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, as part of an […]

1 03 2015
Royals know nothing | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] lines referred to the sudden “confession” of lese majeste by Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee, the parents of Srirasmi, the estranged wife of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, as part of an […]

12 03 2015
Lese majeste as pedagogy | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee, the parents of  Srirasmi, the estranged third wife of Prince Vajiralongkorn, were accused only last month “of using their royal connections to have a woman in Ratchaburi province imprisoned for 18 months on a bogus fraud conviction.” […]

12 03 2015
Lese majeste as pedagogy | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Apiruj and Wantanee Suwadee, the parents of  Srirasmi, the estranged third wife of Prince Vajiralongkorn, were accused only last month “of using their royal connections to have a woman in Ratchaburi province imprisoned for 18 months on a bogus fraud conviction.” […]

3 12 2016
Thailand’s long succession - New Mandala

[…] was played out in public as the princess was stripped of her title and shamed, with almost all her family jailed for lèse majesté offences. This allowed the prince to promote his favourite, Suthida. The former […]

9 12 2018
What happened to that palace “crisis”? | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] “cleaned” out his family and continued a palace cleaning and reorganization that saw dozens of lese majeste cases and saw many jailed and some […]

9 12 2018
What happened to that palace “crisis”? | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] “cleaned” out his family and continued a palace cleaning and reorganization that saw dozens of lese majeste cases and saw many jailed and some […]

16 01 2019
Lese majeste in 2018 | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Sulak Sivaraksa wrote that Vajiralongkorn “instructed the Chief Justice and the Attorney General to bring to an end to prosecutions invoking Section 112 and to not allow it to be used as a political tool.” It seems that on this point, Vajiralongkorn has more sense than his father. That’snot to say that there weren’t dozens of lese majeste cases directly related to Vajiralongkorn such as the spate around his separation from his consort in late 2014 and early 2015. […]

16 01 2019
Lese majeste in 2018 | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Sulak Sivaraksa wrote that Vajiralongkorn “instructed the Chief Justice and the Attorney General to bring to an end to prosecutions invoking Section 112 and to not allow it to be used as a political tool.” It seems that on this point, Vajiralongkorn has more sense than his father. That’snot to say that there weren’t dozens of lese majeste cases directly related to Vajiralongkorn such as the spate around his separation from his consort in late 2014 and early 2015. […]

21 10 2019
King disposes of another wife | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] We can’t help wondering what Sineenat’s fate will be. For that matter, what becomes of her family and friends? An absolutist king in a ridiculously royalist Thailand can do pretty much anything. He […]