Further updated: More royal house cleaning

8 11 2017

[Note: we have reworded parts of this post to add a little detail and have also included an update to more recent reporting on this sacking.]

It is widely believed that former Grand Chamberlain Distorn Vajarodaya is not favored by the King Vajiralongkorn. Confirming the king’s distaste, Distorn was demoted and demeaned in January. He has now he’s been sacked from the Royal Household Bureau and further shamed.

In an order dated 6 November and signed by Lord Chamberlain Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayudhya, the Royal Household Bureau has dismissed Grand Chamberlain “for disciplinary violations” and what were called “severely immoral acts.”

Distorn was also chairman of the royal Rajaprajanugroh Foundation. He was said to have “committed four serious wrondoings…”.

As the chairman of the foundation, he was said to have “abused his power by instructing a foundation official to issue a document certifying the donation of 25 million baht by a person, even though the donation did not occur.” Later, it is alleged that Distorn “used the certificate to ask for a royal decoration for that person.”

Another charge was that he was:

found taking soil leftover from the construction of the new parliament for sale to a land developer and for use as fill at his own place, even though the Lower House gave the soil to the foundation for its own use.

Yet another charge was that Distorn had “used a royal car that was involved in an accident.” Related, he was accused of making a “false claim of the monarch’s signature” used “to import a car without paying tax in order to replace the damaged vehicle.”

The report states that all of this “was done without royal permission…”.

Quite remarkably, at least when one considers the king’s serial adultery, the Royal Household Bureau:

discovered very unpleasant behaviour in his personal affairs. Mr Distorn had an intimate relationship with a woman who was not his wife. When she became pregnant, he forced her to have an abortion and eventually forced her marry another man….

So out he went. We doubt many observers will buy this stuff at face value. Distorn may have done some or all of these things, but more is going on.

In January, we had a long quote from royal watcher Andrew MacGregor Marshall on problems the king had with senior officials close to his dead father:

One of the most prominent families of palace officials is the Vajarodaya clan (the surname is sometimes transliterated as Watcharothai). The octogenarian family patriarch Kaeokhwan Vajarodaya [now deceased] was a childhood friend of King Bhumibol, and has been Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household Bureau since 1987…. [O]ver the past two decades, Kaeokhwan’s nephew Disthorn Vajarodaya has become particularly close to Bhumibol. [Wikileaks cables} named him in 2009 as one of the very few people in the king’s innermost circle of confidantes….  Disthorn was chairman of the king’s Rajanukhrao Foundation and a Grand Chamberlain in the Royal Household Bureau. Over recent years he has usually been at Bhumibol’s side when the king makes his rare public appearances. He has become a familiar face to most Thais who have often seen him on royal news broadcasts, accompanying the king.

When the new king took over, it was reported that:

 Disthorn … was instructed to attend a special training course so he could learn to perform his duties properly, and thereafter he would serve as a private page of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. He would be banned from ever again running any of the agencies in the Royal Household Bureau…. Disthorn and his cousins Ratthanwut and Watcharakitti apparently [had to] undergoing their special training….

Marshall added:

Vajiralongkorn clearly intends to publicly shame the three palace officials, and then continue to torment them indefinitely afterwards. Disthorn, for years one of the closest friends of King Bhumibol, suddenly finds himself forced to obey the whims of Vajiralongkorn, first in a humiliating training course and then as the crown prince’s personal page. It is a dizzying fall from grace, and will be an ongoing nightmare for him.

It seems that torment has now completed and Distorn ditched and shamed. A lese majeste charge has sometimes followed such royal house cleaning under Vajiralongkorn.

Update: As expected, it is reported that “Distorn will face legal action for breaking the law, said the source from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).” We thought it remarkable that the “Royal Household Bureau is expected to lodge a formal complaint against Mr Distorn when it finishes compiling evidence to support the complaint…”. But, then, we thought that this is the palace, so it can make law (think of the constitution changes and changes to the control of the palace and Crown Property Bureau), operate its own jail, and conduct its own investigations! It is truly a law unto itself. How very feudal.

And the claims of Distorn’s sexual “misbehavior” have expanded:

Distorn was intimate with a woman whom he got pregnant on two occasions. He forced her to abort once but the second time she resisted.

As a result, he forced her to marry another man, according to the bureau.

No mention of the grand irony in this. As noted above, the king is a serial adulterer and has savaged his legal wives each time he has ditched them.