Koi is gone

4 08 2022

Andrew MacGregor Marshall has a new Secret Siam post “Koi gone.” Marshall doesn’t answer the burning question: What has happened to Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, known as Koi, the king’s official concubine?

She’s been gone from public view since 5 December 2021. No one is saying what has happened to her. She was there one day and then she disappeared. Her unexplained disappearance is not something usually associated with “celebrities” in the modern world. It is strange. But so is the Thai royal family.

If he can’t say what has happened to her, Marshall puts together the story of Koi as it is currently known. It will be of interest for many who follow the erratic Vajiralongkorn. Here’s some of the conclusion to Marshall’s account:

The royals finally returned to Europe in November 2021, taking over much of the airport hotel in Munich for their mandatory two weeks of coronavirus quarantine. They made day trips to Thailand on November 20 for the changing of the clothes of the Emerald Buddha, and on December 5 for the birthday of the late King Bhumibol.

The December 5 visit was the last time Koi has been seen in public. She has been missing for eight months. Here is the last image we have of her.

It remains unknown what happened during December last year between Vajiralongkorn and Koi….

The king flew back to Bangkok via Zurich on December 28 for Taksin Day, bringing [Queen] Suthida but — very unusually — not Koi, who stayed in Bavaria. He planned to stay in Thailand less than two weeks.

We are PPT don’t think it is certain that Koi remained in Bavaria.

But the plans were repeatedly changed…. Clearly there was some turbulence in the palace, with plans being changed so frequently.

Eventually, Vajiralongkorn decided he was not going to return to his pleasure palace in Bavaria for now. He has not been back to Germany since December and has not seen Koi since then.

The real reason [for Koi’s disappearance], royal sources say, is that Koi’s ambitions were causing so much conflict that Vajiralongkorn became increasingly angry and bored of the drama. Surprisingly, Suthida seems to have won the power struggle for now, with the help of Bajrakitiyabha and Sirivannavari….

On July 28 [2022], the royals gathered to mark Vajiralongkorn’s 70th birthday. It was exactly three years since he had anointed Koi his royal noble consort, but she was nowhere to be seen.

For the moment, Koi is gone.





Richest of the rich

11 07 2022

There’s been plenty of attention to the Forbes rich list. That list has not put the king at the top of the list despite the fact that the king took personal control of it all a few years ago. While corporates like the Siam Commercial Bank now list the king as being its largest shareholder under his personal name, Forbes doesn’t do this.

Even so, at about the same time that Forbes came out with its list, another appeared at The Artistree, listing the top ten wealthiest royals. In this list, the Thai royal family comes in at no. 6: “The Royal Family of Thailand is estimated to be between $30 – $50 billion. There is not much information about the earnings and income of this royal family.” We think it is worth more like $60-70 billion.

Then, the Daily Star decided to recycle a range of interesting and bizarre stories regarding the king and his family, under the headline: “Crazy life of Thailand’s king with leaked vids, abducting daughter and 20 mistresses.” That story has his wealth at about $34 billion.

We are sure that all readers will be aware of the controversial items mentioned in the story and then some.

Which reminds us, where is official consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi? As far as we can recall, not a peep has been heard about her since at least December last year.

Of course, plenty wonder what’s going on. There are rumors. She’s jailed again, she’s dead, she’s pregnant, or she’s stuck in Germany. She is certainly banished from royal public life.

 





What’s happened to royal consort Sineenat?

17 05 2022

King and Sineenat in happier times

Back in mid-February, we were asked about the whereabouts of official consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi.

We asked because the previous time she disappeared from public view she was jailed by the king.

After a few months, she was released, declared clean and unimpeachable and taken back to the king’s bosom.

When the king’s household returned to Bangkok to see off the student uprising, Koi was involved in every event. Indeed, she was reasonably high-profile in this palace pushback which saw the king and immediate royal family doing public appearances to boost royalists and royalism.

Campaigning for royalism

If her initial rise, demise and resurrection was very strange stuff, her current situation is even odder. There have been no announcements. She’s just disappeared from public view. By our calculation, her disappearance is now about 6 months.

Of course, plenty are wondering what’s going on. There are rumors. She’s jailed again, she’s dead, she’s pregnant, or she’s stuck in Germany.

We have no idea.

So where is Sineenat?





Where’s Koi?

6 02 2022

We don’t usually do the Hello magazine stuff, but we are wondering about official consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. We ask because when we hadn’t seen her for a while, she was jailed by the king.

When she was released, she was declared clean and unimpeachable and taken back to the king’s bosom. When the king’s household returned to Bangkok to see off the student uprising, Koi was involved in every event.

Strange stuff indeed. However, when she disappears from public view, we can only wonder what is going on.

Her birthday was ignored and it is Queen Suthida and Princess Bajrakitiyabha who are seen with the king on the very few occasions he is seen in public, most recently for Chinese New Year.

So where is Sineenat?

 





Further updated: Secret Siam’s Bavarian rhapsody

28 01 2022

For all things on planes, travel, women and Vajiralongkorn, Andrew MacGregor Marshall has it all compiled in a recent Secret Siam post. It is incredibly long and has the feel of a chapter from a book. So much is crammed into its many pages that we can only suggest that those who crave all the details take out a subscription. Otherwise, follow Marshall on Twitter and Facebook for titbits.

Update 1: In a related development, Vajiralongkorn has again re-arranged his palace. While PPT follows royal stuff, we don’t really understand the significance of the changes. Maybe a reader knows? With Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi/Koi’s birthday passing and her not being seen, maybe there’s a purge going on? Who knows? It’s all secret.

Update 2: Marshall’s post has now been made free to view.





Updated: “Fake” news, state news

13 06 2021

Anyone who struggles through the blarney posted by the regime’s PR outfits must wonder about the meaning of “fake news.”

But when the regime’s bosses talk “fake news” one can expect they are talking about others and their news. Mostly, they are worried about news on the monarchy and criticism of themselves.

All kinds of political regimes have taken up “fake news” as a way of limiting criticism, but it is authoritarian, military and military-backed regimes that have been most enthusiastic in using it to roll back and limit criticism. In Thailand, repression has been deepened through all kinds of efforts to limit free expression and to silence opponents.

With laws on computer crimes, defamation, treason, sedition, and lese majeste, a reasonable person might wonder why the regime needs more “legal” means for repression. But, then, authoritarian regimes tend to enjoy finding ways to silence critics.

It is thus no real surprise to read in the Bangkok Post that Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has ordered “the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) and security agencies to take tough action against those who spread fake news.” He included the “Anti-Fake News Centre, the Royal Thai Police, the Justice Ministry and the DES” telling them to “work together to respond swiftly to the spread of fake news on social media platforms, and take legal action accordingly.”

I Can't Speak

His minions “explained” he was worried about virus news, but when Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha “instructed the Council of State, the government’s legal advisory body, to study the laws and regulations, including those in foreign countries, dealing with the spread of fake news” the focus was much broader and was clearly about anti-monarchy news. After all, officials added that the Computer Crime Act was insufficient for curbing “the damage speedily enough.”

The Thai Enquirer sensed an even broader regime agenda. They saw the use of the Council of State as a path to a “law that would control the online media in Thailand.”

They recognize that the aim is to strengthen “national security,” code for the monarchy. But, they also note a desire to limit “the criticism that the government has received over its Covid-19 response program from online platforms” including by Thai Enquirer. Of course, that criticism has also involved the monarchy.

They rightly fear that the online media “would be targeted under the new law.” They say:

This law, as commentators have noted, is an affront and a threat to free and fair press inside this country. It would make our job thousands of times harder and open us up to lawsuit and the threat of legal harassment by the government.

As we have been saying at PPT, Thai Enquirer believes:

we are being taken back to the dark days of military rule because the government believes criticism aimed at them is a threat to the entire nation. That they are unable to differentiate between a political party, its rule, and the fabric of the nation is arrogant and worrying.

But here we are, even as Deputy Prime Minister and legal predator Wissanu Krea-Ngam thinks of an excuse to shut us down, we promise to you that we will keep reporting to the end.

They call for opposition to tyranny, adding that “this new onslaught against press freedom” will be opposed through their reporting.

In a Bangkok Post op-ed by Wasant Techawongtham acknowledges that fake news can be a problem but notes that a new law “Bootis aimed at silencing critics of the ruling regime.” He adds:

Since democracy was banished from Thailand following the 2014 military coup d’etat, a number of laws have been enacted purportedly to protect the Thai people against the harmful effects of computer crimes. But it is crystal clear that the real purpose of these laws is to suppress the voice of the people.

Authoritarians tend to go to great lengths to ensure their stay in power through silencing dissent.

Under this regime, Wasant observes that regime opponents have been “harassed, or even put in jail” and several have been dissappeared and others killed.

He recognizes that a range of repressive laws have:

done quite a remarkable job of suppressing free speech. Those who insisted on speaking their minds against the current rulers have been severely dealt with. Those who were put in jail were allowed back to their families only after they agreed to seal their lips.

Not only regime and monarchy critics are silenced, but the “media — broadcast, digital and print — have felt compelled to screen their offerings very carefully, which in many cases leads to self-censorship.”

But none of this is enough! The regime wants more! There can be no freedom. There can only be the regime’s “truth.”

Update: Thinking about fake news from the regime, the royal propaganda machine is pumping out some real tripe. The latest has the king and his number 1 consort cooking meals allegedly for “medical professionals,” although in the story at The Nation, Sineenat isn’t even mentioned.

Royal cooks

Clipped from The Nation

As they often are, the couple appear in identical kit with minions groveling around them. We are told that “King … Vajiralongkorn on Saturday cooked a variety of food at the kitchen of Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall in Dusit Palace…”. He’s the cleanest cook in history, with not a stain to be seen, suggesting that its fake news or, in other words, a photo op meant to deceive the public. And, their gear changes in several of the pictures.

To add to the “news,” the “Royal Office” is quoted as saying:

These foods have nutrition values of five food groups with fingerroot as a key ingredient…. Fingerroot or Krachai is a Thai traditional herb that has various medicinal benefits and could help strengthen the body’s immune system and help prevent Covid-19. Furthermore, eating freshly cooked meals is one of the recommended ways to stay safe from the virus.

We have to say that we at PPT must have wasted our time getting vaccinated because, as the royals have, hot food protects us, and we eat “freshly cooked meals” at least twice a day! Krachai may well be the king’s favorite ingredient as it is said to help with male sexual performance. But how to explain the erect chef’s hat is beyond us.

That aside, this palace propaganda must rank as “fake news.”





Cracks in the royal house

23 03 2021

Clipped from Royal World Thailand

For those who have read about dissension within the royal family and specifically between the queen and royal consort, this Facebook post from Royal World Thailand, seems to add interesting details as they become public.

Vajiralongkorn long ago declared that he would adopt the manners of a “traditional” king, and it seems that his decisions on his personal life are again creating problems.

So often in the past, these decisions have led to personal and palace crises.





Updated: Real news and rumors

29 01 2021

There were lots of royal rumors being shot around over the past weeks or so. Some of them refer to allegations of unspeakable acts against Sirindhorn by her brother, King Vajiralongkorn. Since she was reported as breaking both ankles in a “fall,” rumors gripped social media until they finally became “fact” through international reporting.

We can’t say if this rumor has any truth to it. And, we wouldn’t imagine that we would ever know. Not only is the palace notoriously opaque, but fear is likely to be at play if there is any truth there somewhere.

What we do know is is that the notion of stumbling and breaking both ankles is odd, and the palace gave no explanation of what happened to her. Nor did it say much after Sirindhorn had surgery. That said, she is getting on in years, has long been overweight, and was recently seen riding about official functions on an electric mobility scooter. So it might be that she has brittle bones. But who knows?

If the palace doesn’t say anything or give any depth to its reporting, then it can only blame itself when rumors go viral. But the international media should ask itself if reporting rumor is warranted.

Another story that did the rounds which, so far, is untrue, has been widely reported by tabloids internationally. The Daily Mail reported in one of its paragraph-length headlines: “Thai king ‘makes his consort his second queen as her birthday gift’ in historic move…“. Likewise, The Sun had a similar story, reporting this “fact.” Both “stories” were false and based on rumor.

On-again-off-again favorite consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi was not made second queen on her birthday. She did appear with the king in cheeky matching outfits to do the usual birthday stuff, releasing captive animals and so on. But no promotion.

At least, that’s how we understand it because such promotions are always made royal announcements. We suppose one could come out later and be backdated, but nothing emerged.

So why is the salacious part of the international media making rumor fact? And why do this when there are some juicy tidbits that have been officially announced.

We refer to the announcement on 27 January that the king had promoted both his next favorite consort and another one to higher military positions. The announcement was that Sutthatphakdi Borirakphuminth (สุทัตตาภักดิ์ บริรักษ์ภูมินทร์) was made a major-general and the more minor consort was promoted to colonel. Not much is known about Sutthatphakdi but BBC Thai has done the journalistic work and discovered all of the announcements about her over the years she seems to have been in the king’s inner circle.

This recent announcement suggests that Vajiralongkorn is unchanged by all the calls for reform and is continuing on with his neo-absolutist agenda. Maybe the media should be reporting on that and on the news that is real and confirmed about the king and his queens, consorts and wives. There’s enough material around to show that the king is an erratic, vengeful, and nasty person, unfit for any office.

Update: For a “story” that does get Sineenat’s non-promotion right, look at the South China Morning Post. However, the SCMP still feels the need to concoct a “story.” In this it is a “what if” line that is taken, with a claim that has PPT stumped: “Less than two years after her sudden pardon, the former military pilot may be named as King Rama X’s second queen according to unconfirmed reports – will Sineenat emerge as a style icon like Queen Sirikit, or a humanitarian beacon like Princess Soamsawali?” Well, it is less than a year since she was “pardoned,” but the notion that the portulent Soamsawali was a “humanitarian beacon” is quite baffling. How do they come up with this stuff?





King and consort

12 01 2021

Quite a bit of material is appearing that displays King Vajiralongkorn and his official no. 2 wife Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi.

In the most remarkable of these events was reported by Reuters. It states:

King and consort. Clipped from Daily Mail

Thailand’s palace has released photographs of King … Vajiralongkorn visiting prisons with his royal consort … as the royal family steps up public appearances following mass protests demanding reforms to the monarchy.

In a segment on the nightly royal bulletin on state and private TV channels on Saturday, the king and his consort – restored to her position last year after having been disgraced and stripped of her titles – are shown inspecting projects in jails across Thailand.

They are photographed sweeping floors and speaking to officials during the last two months of 2020, and the segment also featured interviews with inmates speaking about the benefits of the projects.

The odd thing about these images and reporting is that the king had previously jailed his love interest declaring her a terrible woman. It was only in September 2020 that she was reinstated and publicly declared “untainted.”

Clipped from Daily Mail

The Daily Mail refers to these appearances as “a publicity stunt for a new documentary” and published several unflattering photos of Sineenat.

PPT has seen a video that looks like a documentary, but missed the royal news. We have to say that the video we saw looked odd, with prisoners shown moving and working, but with all images of the king and consort being stills, some of which looked suspiciously like the images might have been constructed. That might be by the palace, but it’s impossible to know.

 

Clipped from The Straits Times

A couple of things are clear from this palace propaganda. One is that Sineenat is completely rehabilitated and roughly in the position she was back in mid-2019, before her temporary erasure. Second, it is clear that the demonstrations and protests have done nothing to alter the king’s neo-absolutist desires.





Land of (no) compromise VIII

26 12 2020

Reinstated consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi is getting plenty of media coverage of late. Part of this has to do with leaked photos of her that are dripping out. The breathless discussion of the meaning of the leaks is probably overdone not least because it is based on supposition.

Of more significance is the recent report at Royal World Thailand‘s Facebook page, reproduced here (almost) in full:

It has been a viral about the news of His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn of Thailand who carried on his engagement together with the Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani as a couple for the first time. Although it was known earlier among social medias, the people were much excited with this marvelous moment.

The King, accompanied the Royal Noble Consort to the ceremony of offering the Buddhist robes and kit at 2 temples in 2 different provinces in 2 days: Wat Phrathat Haripunchai Temple in Lamphun Province on 23 December, and at Wat Phra Maha Chedi Chaimongkol Temple in Roi Et Province on 24 December 2020.

Clipped from Royal World Thailand

Besides seeing Sineenat accompanied the King by herself, a lot of people might not expect to see the close moment between them two. Some may not surprise at all. Things admired the people were the outfits the couple wore which made the same tone of colour, and also her first ever public accompanying in social events.

However, there is much criticism about Sineenat who is being treated like a royal as she is still catogorised as a commoner, e.g., curtsying from the female officers, as well as sitting on a ‘royal chair’ which is used by the royals only. The royal household has even got a systematic rule of preparing the chairs for each class of royals for the ceremonies….

There are also much negative flows with unappreciated feedback from the supporters of Her Majesty Queen Suthida: saying it should have been her position to be aside the sovereign in such an official engagement as the Queen Consort, not a concubine. When Sineenat finally came out alongside the King, she is hoped by many to see her with the Queen in any future engagements.

Sineenat has been ironically encouraged by many of her supporters to fight for ‘her goal (?)’ The public image of the institution did not affect those who highly respect the monarchy. Nevertheless, as the people never forget what happened in the past, the King’s declaration to Sineenat as ‘guiltless person’ is considered just a text. She cannot get rid of all scandals spreading throughout the social media around the world.

Even those who still highly respect the monarch are unwilling to his life as “the Polygamy King” in this modern age after not having a Polygamous King for almost 100 years. Although it is, still, not widely and publicly accepted in the society, many people still think every single thing is the whole perfectness of their King, even being with his concubine. It is hence a good moment during Christmas week in Thailand….

Essentially, for all of its poor English, tells of the king conducting official palace business with the consort rather than the queen. Royal watchers see this as an indication of not just Goy being reinstated, but of her winning the king over to her “side” in some kind of intra-palace competition.

We have no idea if this is and more than rumor and imagination. However, for decades, the king has expressed his desire to be like kings of yore, and to have a harem. He’s done that, established a major queen, a minor queen-consort, and has a bunch of other women at his beck and call.

There may be some sniping in the palace, but the king wants to live like an absolutist and nothing in recent months has changed his course at all.








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