She’s back

17 10 2022

In a Facebook post, Andrew MacGregor Marshall confirms that Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi has returned to Thailand. He states that a Royal Thai Air Force Airbus collected her from Munich, delivering her to Don Muang.

Presumably she shows up at some royal event and everything is “normal” again. The next question is where was she and does she have a new royal kid with her.





Update: Is she back?

13 10 2022

Some social media are saying that Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, the missing royal consort, has re-appeared.

At present we do not know if this is fake news or real, but the source of the stories seems to be a page devoted to Sineenart. More as we hear of it.

If she is, the question remains: how can someone near the top of the royal family – essentially King Vajiralongkorn’s second wife – simply disappear since December, and with no explanation?

The answer, of course, is that in royalist Thailand no one can ask questions about the monarchy without risking jail or violence.

Update: Nothing more seen since the initial social media post. A reader reckons there’s photos of a baby circulating…. We remain doubtful of these stories and await more official news on the disappeared woman.





King seen, but not Sineenat

9 10 2022

AFP – Agence France Presse – reported on the “visit by Thailand’s king to see survivors of a nursery massacre,” noting that it was “a rare recent public outing” by Vajiralongkorn.

AFP then goes through some squirms and calisthenics to suggest that the current monarch is “officially regarded as semi-divine but who came in for unprecedented criticism during street protests in 2020.” Presumably, the “official” bit is to imply that this position is demonstrably buffalo manure.

King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida visited hospitals treating the victims of the tragic Nong Bua Lamphu massacre. As far as we can tell from reporting, the royals steered clear of the site of the massacre. This is probably for fear of bad karma rubbing off.

As usual, a handful of “royalist supporters, some wearing the king’s official colour yellow, waited outside the hospital ahead of the monarch’s visit.”

And, as always, those viewed by the royals were placed in subordinate positions.

The report is right to observe that the king no longer goes out much: “The palace stepped up public appearances in late 2020 and early 2021, including one occasion on which the king visited prisons, sweeping floors alongside his [then] official consort.” Since the regime arrested and charged hundreds with lese majeste, “he has been seen less in public since the protests ebbed away in 2021.” Presumably he feels his position has been fortified.

Perhaps the AFP might have asked why he’s stopped spending most of his time in Germany. Tax issues? An incapacity under German law to take government decisions?

Helpfully, though, AFP does mention Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. But she has completely disappeared, without a trace. What has happened to her?





Sharing Pavin 112

26 09 2022

On 26 September 2022, Absorn (pseudonym), 23, employed at a private company, was sentenced by the Criminal Court to 4 years in prison on lese majeste, computer crimes.

The court decided that as she had never been previously been sentenced to prison, her sentence was reduced to 2 years and suspended for 3 years. She will be on probation for 2 years.

Absorn, a trans woman, was charged on a complaint made by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society after she shared a Facebook post by academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun. The exiled Pavin argued that the campaign was “outdated” and:

claimed that the … royal family launched a public relations campaign in order to compete with pro-democracy protesters, such as by having Princess Sirivannavari, King Vajiralongkorn’s youngest daughter, join a dance event, or reporting that Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, the [then] King’s royal consort, supported a Royal Project by buying products from the Sai Jai Thai Foundation.

Absorn shared the post and without adding anything to it.

She was charged in November 2020. The public prosecutor prosecuted her “on the grounds that the post contain false information and may mislead the public into thinking that the King is an enemy of the people and tries to interfere with politics. The prosecutor also said that the post was rude and intended to cause hatred against the King.”

Of course, facts about the royal family are disputed, but never by the royalist courts. At the time, it was clear that the royal family mobilized to push back against reform calls.

Absorn said the “post was shared onto her old Facebook account which she no longer used. She also immediately took the post down after a coworker warned her it might be illegal.”





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.”








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