BILD in Germany has again published its quite stunning photographs of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn in Munich. Apparently this new story is prompted by the military junta’s claims that the photographs are “doctored.” We reproduce the new story as a Google Translate version, with the bold print being from the original German version. We understand this is a shaky translation:
Is this man really to be King of Thailand?
These photos have brought us to the royal astonishment.
On Thursday we saw the Thai prince who is not yet king at Munich Airport. Should he really be king?
Because the Thai government continues to take every effort to protect the reputation of Vajiralongkorn (63), to protect, and does not shy away from police actions and false statements.
BILD published on Thursday reader-reporter photos that show the prince’s back and arm extensively tattooed and the crown prince in a midriff top, baggy jeans, and sandals at Munich Airport.
This article was shared by British journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall on Facebook. Marshall (who cannot enter Thailand since 2011) is considered a major critic of Thailand, the monarchy and the lese majeste laws that provide for prison sentences of up to 15 years for the smallest offenses.
The Facebook post by Marshall saw his wife, a Thai, Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp having trouble yesterday.
Bunluesilp was with her son (3) to visit home in Bangkok. The police stormed the house where she was, confiscated a computer and detained Bunluesilp. After several hours of interrogation, she was set free again.
The Thai police are now claiming in an official statement that said pictures are fakes. In addition, it was suggested, journalist Marshall was possibly the author of the forgery.
These allegations are untrue.
A spokeswoman for the Axel Springer SE clarifies: “BILD has verified the authenticity of the photos. The reader-reporter is not Andrew MacGregor Marshall.“
Update 1: The pictures of the prince are parts of two posts at New Mandala, one by Paul Handley and the other by Christine Gray. Both worth reading in the context of the Bild stories. The comments are interesting on the Handley post as there is debate on the authenticity of the photos and the details of tattooing.
Update 2: With another picture of the prince with tattoos emerging, the talk on social media is that the tattoos are transfers. For this possibility, see any of the manufacturer’s websites, such as this one.
Update 3: In another post at New Mandala, academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun has an interesting post seeking to unravel some of the questions about the prince and his excursions to Germany.