More on Jumpol and the palace

This post is an update to our earlier one on earlier posts. A while ago we posted on the police investigating forest land encroachment in Thap Lan National Park allegedly committed by former deputy national police chief Jumpol Manmai who was a right-hand man of King Vajiralongkorn.

Since then, nothing official has been heard of Jumpol. On social media, it has been said that he has “disappeared” and others claim he has been murdered. Those rumors now seem highly dubious, although they may have played a role in finally getting Jumpol back into public view.

His re-entry was announced by the Royal Gazette sacking him and statements that he would be handed over to the police, presumably by the Royal Household Bureau and from one or other of the king’s palaces.

The Bangkok Post reports that the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police are to “bring in Pol Gen Jumpol Manmai, who was on Monday dismissed from his position as Grand Chamberlain of the Bureau of the Royal Household, for questioning Thursday.” We look forward to seeing him and whether, like earlier royal prisoners, has been shaved bald.

Police say “Jumpol is expected to be indicted at Nakhon Ratchasima provincial court on the same day as the questioning, said the same source.”

The Royal Household Bureau is reported to have alleged that “Jumpol also abused his position to seek personal gain and had a political bias which was deemed a threat to internal security and led to him being no longer trusted by the monarch…”.

For more background on the case, especially on the series of royal sackings and unexplained deaths of “suspects” in custody, Channel NewsAsia has details via AFP. We reproduce some of that below:

The fates of fallen royal aides are closely watched and widely gossipped upon by Thais.

That is because the royal family is protected by a draconian defamation law that makes scrutiny of its inner workings, or debate over its role, almost impossible inside the kingdom.

Media inside Thailand must heavily self-censor when reporting on the royal family.

Last week another senior aide to the king, Air Vice Marshal Chitpong Thongkum, was sacked on the charge of improperly profiting from the family.

In 2015 three people – including a celebrity soothsayer – were arrested under the lese majeste law for trying to profit from their royal connections.

The soothsayer and one other suspect died in military custody soon after their arrests.

The year before, Vajiralongkorn announced that his then wife Princess Srirasmi Suwadee, with whom he has a son, had been stripped of her titles.

That came after half a dozen members of Srirasmi’s family were jailed on lese majeste charges for allegedly improperly using their connections to him.

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