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UnThai-ed

Thailand’s crown prince strips wife’s family of their royal name

Country’s junta will forbid anyone using the royal surname after three   relatives of Princess Srirasmi are embroiled in a corruption scandal

Crown Prince Vajiralongkom of Thailand and wife Princess Srirasmi

Crown Prince Vajiralongkom of Thailand and wife Princess Srirasmi  Photo: Alamy

 

The family of the wife of Thailand’s Crown Prince have been stripped of an   honorific title, police confirmed Monday, after three of her relatives were   caught up in a high-profile corruption scandal.

Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has asked the country’s junta to forbid anyone   from using the surname “Akkharapongpricha” in a letter widely circulated   over the weekend on social media.

Three people with the surname – an honorific given to relatives of Princess   Srirasmi following her marriage to the Crown Prince – were arrested last   week on graft charges as part of a widening investigation into an allegedly   corrupt cabal of senior police officers.

“It is the royal last name given to the cousins and siblings (of the   princess)”, national police spokesman Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri   told AFP, adding that 19 people have now been arrested in the widening probe.

“There was a document spread on social media. We checked and it is true that   they have been stripped of their royally given surname.”

The Bangkok Post and other media reported that the three men worked within the   palace.

Princess Srirasmi married the Crown Prince in 2001 and was most recently seen   in public last week accompanying her husband at a royal ceremony. The couple   have a son who is thought to be Vajiralongkorn’s most likely heir.

Rumours had been circling within Thai society for days that some of those   arrested in the police corruption scandal were related to the Crown Prince’s   second wife.

But the letter from Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn was the first time an explicit   connection had been made to people with links to the palace.

Thailand’s monarchy is protected by strict lese majeste laws. Both local and   international media must heavily self-censor when covering the country’s   royal family.

Under section 112 of Thailand’s criminal code anyone convicted of defaming,   insulting or threatening the king, queen, heir or regent faces between three   and 15 years in prison on each count.

Even repeating details of the charges could mean breaking the law.

The police corruption scandal exploded last week when three senior officers –   including the head of the elite Central Investigation Bureau – were arrested   on a string of bribery charges.

Unusually, some of those detained were also charged for defaming the monarchy,   with police saying they had made “false claims” about a royal to justify   committing crimes that allegedly ranged from running illegal casinos to oil   smuggling, kidnapping and extortion

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