Further updated: Unsubstantiated rumors and speculation

13 10 2016

Because the palace provides little information, there is considerable speculation about the king’s dying days.

Social media has some pretty long and involved discussions of what’s happening and what will happen.

Much of this is highly speculative. For example, there social media speculation that the prince returning to Thailand by a TG flight is seen as significant of something by some, such as control by the military junta. Some see his return as evidence that there will be no intervention in succession. We will soon know if any of this speculation and guessing is worth the huge efforts that go into it.

One current social media rumor is that the “old brass” from the Privy Council is currently meeting with the junta’s “new brass.” This seems  reasonable speculation and we’d guess that such a meeting would not be the first. If there is going to be any interference in succession, these are the main players but there’s no recent and compelling evidence to suggest that there will be such an intervention, but the junta’s Thailand is highly secretive and that needs to be kept in mind.

Reports from Thailand suggest that there is a calm “waiting” going on. That said, we can expect considerable grieving when it is announced that the king has died.set-index

Update 1: Here is another claim that needs to be considered carefully before believing it. And we mean the one by the junta’s “Deputy junta head for the Economy” Somkid Jatusripitak, who declares that the “authorities are now hunting for people who are causing Thailand’s stock market to plummet rapidly.” Apparently now infected by junta-itis, which affects the brain, detaching it from reality, he says he “has ordered Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand (SEC) to find people who are spreading rumours causing rapid fall on the nation’s stock market…”.

It’s the Royal Household Bureau’s announcements and then the failure of the junta and palace to say anything about the way they are dealing with the king’s demise that are causing the drop.

Somkid “said that Thai people should not become victims of those who are spreading rumours for personal gains, adding that people should trust in the nation’s economic potential and follow news from the government sources only.” See what we mean? Only believe the military dictatorship!

Then, remarkably, he added to the rumors: “This country is now at a very important moment and things will gradually get better…”. So the king is dead or about to die, now confirmed by this statement.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that Princesses Sirindhorn, Soamsawali, Chulabhorn and Prince Vajiralongkorn are again at Siriraj Hospital. We see no mention of the queen, who is also hospitalized.

Updated: Miracles in the military’s Thailand

7 09 2016

PPT doesn’t believe in miracles. In Thailand, however, a series of “miracles” have occurred. More precisely, they seem to to have been manufactured under the auspices of the military dictatorship.

The first is a recurring “miracle.” The king’s health has improved for the umpteenth time. In a short report attributed to the Royal Household Bureau. It says the king’s “blood and phlegm were checked by a team of doctors at Siriraj Hospital. An X-ray found fluid in the King’s lung had reduced and there was no inflammation.” It adds that a “pulse examination by echocardiography found the functioning of [the king’s] … cardiac muscle was satisfactory.”

UdomdejThe second “miracle” was entirely predictable (which denies miracle status, but the story is still miraculous). The military’s laundry or the National Anti-Corruption Commission has “unanimously agreed that there was no graft in the Rajabhakti [Corruption] Park project in Hua Hin…”. Of course there wasn’t! The junta has said that from the beginning, despite evidence to the contrary including from General Udomdej Sitabutr.

The NACC “agreed unanimously that all procedures carried out under the project had met regulatory requirements…”. We don’t believe it could have found otherwise as the case involved junta members.

The third miracle is the jailing of Sondhi Limthongkul. His crime did not relate to anything about the illegal activities of his People’s Alliance for Democracy, for which he deserves years in prison. Rather it relates to just one of his allegedly fraudulent business deals from the 1990s. That said, his 20 year sentence seems way out of line with the sentences given to a handful of 1990s business crooks.sondhi-limthongkul

Many felt Sondhi was “protected” because of his work for the royalists, making them a political movement, and the role he played in getting rid of Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006. We have posted previously that we felt the military was uncomfortable with all populists – Thaksin, Sondhi and Suthep Thaugsuban. Two of these have been pushed aside and out on political ice. We await news of the Suthep “miracle.”

Update: A reader rightly points out that, despite the “miracle recovery” for the king, that reports have stated that the king’s health remains precarious. One states:

… the king is receiving continuous renal replacement therapy, a treatment for critically ill patients with acute kidney failure. It said Bhumibol is still producing insufficient urine.

He has little time left, despite the “medical miracles.”

Near death recoveries

1 08 2016

Both the king and queen spend all their time in hospital, each suffering the multiple ailments of the old. They are both kept alive by teams of doctors. Alive may not mean that they are able to do anything at all, including breathing.

The Royal Household Bureau is issuing regular “reports” that are irregular and still opaque.

One recent report has the queen being moved from Siriraj hospital to Chulalongkorn Hospital. This routing seems regular now. She was moved because an “x-ray showed a slight inflammation on her lungs and blood tests showed an infection…”. Why she isn’t treated at Siriraj, where she resides and where the king is treated is unclear.

As always in these reports, the queen is said to be “improved, with her fever having “subsided and coughing … eased…”. Even so, “she will remain at the hospital for a while longer before being moved to the same hospital as the king.” That is, moved back to another hospital.

Meanwhile, AFP reports that the king still has a fever and continues to be treated with antibiotics. The Bureau stated: “After taking antibiotics his condition has got better but he still has some fever…”.

It seems the king is on antibiotics all the time and has repeated fevers. He also continues to have problems with his catheter that drains excess spinal fluid.

Both seem essentially terminally ill, with doctors working very hard to keep them alive.

Still staying alive

3 07 2016

About two weeks ago there were reports that the king was receiving treatment for his long-term hydrocephalus (water on the brain).

As usual, the reports claimed the king was “improving.” This has been a pattern of Royal Household Bureau reporting: the king is sick, but improving or better.

Of course, at this late stage in his life, the king is very ill and doctors are exceptionally busy trying to keep him alive.

The latest report – there’s been a flurry in recent weeks, and thirty since he entered Siriraj Hospital – says the “king’s health has improved satisfactorily following the latest treatment for excess cerebrospinal fluid.”

After replacing the catheter that drains the fluid in mid-June, a “his team of physicians had adjusted the catheter in his abdomen on Saturday with satisfactory results.” This followed an MRI scan that “found that the fluid had receded but the drainage was still slower than normal, so the doctors sought His Majesty’s permission to adjust the catheter.”

This feudal language about permission is odd and seems to imply that the king is competent to provide such feudal permission.

The statement said the king “had developed mild fevers last month but the condition had improved. Doctors continued to give him oxygen and therapy for high levels of phlegm and saliva during the past month.”

Updated: Ill queen surfaces

27 05 2016

Little has been heard of the ill and aged queen for almost a year. She’s been ill since late 2010, not that long after she had actively gone to bat for the People’s Alliance for Democracy. She is widely believed to have suffered a stroke in mid-2012.



Since then she’s spent time in hospital – said to be in a suite near where the king is kept alive. Following their brief release from hospital, the queen returned to Siriraj Hospital in late May 2015.

Khaosod reports that the queen “has undergone medical tests at Chulalongkorn Hospital which found insufficient blood flow to her brain…”. This statement of “insufficient blood flow to her brain” is exactly as the Royal Household Bureau reported it in 2012.

As usual in cases associated with royal health, she seems well immediately! The “test found no new abnormalities, and a check up of other body systems by computer X-ray found no changes compared to 2015…”.

Her last bout of “insufficient blood flow to her brain” was apparently a stroke and she underwent considerable rehabilitation. Even so, she remains out of sight and is said to struggle with walking and talking.

Update: As usual when it comes to royal health, the queen is now reported to be well again. In another one of those weirdly worded palace reports, after “[d]octors had invited the Queen to Chulalongkorn Hospital to have tests done with specialised instruments on Wednesday,” she returned to Siriraj on Friday, apparently as good as she was before there were reasons to “invite” her for scans at Chulalongkorn. The swollen-kneed doctors say they “were satisfied with the results … [and only] found a trace of a previous illness resulting from insufficient blood in the brain found in 2012, but the latest checks found ‘no new abnormalities’.” Make of this what you will; two conflicting reports from the same palace sources.

King “improves”

18 02 2016

The Bangkok Post and other media report the latest Royal Household Bureau statement number 21 on the king’s health. Earlier in the week he was reported as having heart, blood pressure and breathing problems.

The Bureau now says his condition “has improved…”. It is reported that his “body temperature has decreased [to 38.1C and still a fever], while his pulse rate and his breathing are improving…”.

Royal “doctors were continuing to administer two doses of antibiotics intravenously, as well as oxygen … adding physical therapy was also being provided…”.

The Bureau have “opened Sala Sahathai Samakhom in the Grand Palace compound for people to write in well-wishing books…”, and The Dictator and his cabinet have written “messages wishing the King a quick recovery.”

We have lost count of how many times these calls for writing good wishes to the king have been available and been “required” for signing for many. Previously they have been at Siriraj Hospital, with dictators and other criminals, politicians and celebrities making public signings.

Updated: The king is still improving

11 01 2016

The king has been in bad shape for the umpteenth time. Needless to say, the Royal Household Bureau says that much is “normal” but also admits continuing problems.

In what is said to be a “19th statement released Sunday,” the king is said to have had a fever for two weeks, but that his “fever has dropped, but his breathing is sometimes faster than usual, though pulse and blood pressure remain normal…”.

This fever is said to have been associated with “more saliva and phlegm [and] rapid breathing and lower blood oxygen levels than normal.” Because the report states that a “chest X-ray showed inflammation in the lower part of the lungs … [and] an infection in his blood,” the chances are that the king has had pneumonia.

The king has again been given antibiotics intravenously.

While the report states that the king “has been receiving treatment at Siriraj [Hospital] since returning to the hospital from Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, on May 31 last year,” he has essentially been hospitalized for most of the period since 19 September 2009.

Update: Surprisingly, just a day after announcing the king had been quite ill, Reuters reports that he’s been on a short trip on Monday. He is said to have gone to Chitralada Palace. A palace official said: “His Majesty will go to the Chitralada Palace for a change of atmosphere and will return today…”.

Back to hospital

31 05 2015

We noted that the Bangkok Post’s front page story is somewhat misleading. Yes, on clicking through the reader learns that Bangkok means Siriraj Hospital, but the front page does feel a bit like sleight of hand.

BPmisleads - CopyThe non-story associated with the sudden return of both the king and queen to hospital after less than a month at Hua Hin. The aged royals are obviously in very poor health, yet we’d expect the Royal Household Bureau to come up with some kind of claim that both are well.

Drumming up support

10 05 2015

It has been widely reported that the king and queen are to be returned to their seaside palace in Hua Hin. Apparently they are considered to be well enough to be released from Siriraj Hospital to “rest and recuperate in an area with fresh air…”.

The Royal Household Bureau announced that “[m]embers of the public were invited to greet Their Majesties along the roads where the royal motorcade will pass on its way to the palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.”

The Prachuap Khiri Khan Governor sent a letter marked “most urgent” to all “local state officials” telling them they should “gather from 3pm along Phetkasem Road opposite the entrance to Klai Kangwon Palace.”

The drumming up of “reverence” for the monarchy has long been a task assigned to state agencies.

Updated: Another miracle recovery

5 10 2014

Rushed from Hua Hin to Siriraj Hospital on Friday night, the king and queen were the subject of health rumors as social media lit up. The king was dead. The queen had another stroke. The king had a stroke. And more.

Monks all round the country were ordered to pray for the king. People showed up at the hospital. High officials and other junta flunkies showed up at the hospital. Unusually, some seemed reluctant to say anything at all. The well-wishers’ books were out for signing, and people urged to show up and sign them.

As an old, infirm and very frail man, the king’s frequent and long stays in hospital over recent years seems to have created a mood where people seem willing to think of him dying. The military dictatorship is claimed to be in place in order to “manage” succession.

We doubt the military manage anything beyond a coup.

Meanwhile, the Royal Household seems to recycle its press releases. Despite all of this activity and worry, by Saturday morning, it declared the king much improved.

It stated that on Friday the king had “a high fever of 38.2 Celsius degree Friday evening and doctors diagnosed him with blood infection and his blood pressure had changed, resulting in faster heartbeat.” The king’s “team of doctors” didn’t tell the king to go to hospital – no one can tell the king to do anything – but “asked His Majesty to travel from the Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin to Siriraj Hospital to receive treatment with special medical equipment and for further blood checking.”

Miraculously, in less than 24 hours, the Royal Household stated that the king’s “fever has subsided after he was admitted to Siriraj Hospital…”. It said that “doctors had given intravenous medicine to His Majesty and found on Saturday morning that His Majesty had stable blood pressure and the fever had subsided while he had better nutrition conditions.”

Of course, none of this could possibly have been done in Hua Hin….

Every time the king goes to hospital, he is reported to be “improved,” “improving,” or “well” from the very first report the Royal Household makes.

If, by chance, this announcement was truthful, then questions will be asked about the reasons for a nighttime dash to a capital city hospital.

Update: Surprise! It turns out that the Saturday announcement was misleading. Today, the Bangkok Post reports that the king has had an operation to remove an inflamed gall bladder. No doubt we’ll hear more about how he has made a fabulous recovery.


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