Thai king takes control of royal household, security agencies

Indo Asian News Service

Bangkok, May 3 (IANS) Thai King Vajiralongkorn took control of five state security and royal affairs agencies in the latest move by the monarch to expand his influence nearly six months after ascending to the throne.

The measure on Tuesday, which will transfer control of the agencies to the king from the police and ruling military junta, was approved by Parliament on April 20, but the details were not released until late Monday night in the Royal Thai Government Gazette, Efe news reported.

The agencies include the Royal Household Bureau, the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary, the Royal Thai Aide-De-Camp Department, the Office of Royal Court Security Police and the Royal Security Command.

The transfer of the institutions, which until now were controlled by the Prime Minister's Office, the Defense Ministry and the police, is being done to improve their efficiency, the royal newspaper said.

The Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary and the royal security agencies are different from other government bodies because they need to be in agreement with the king's wishes; therefore, they need to been under his control, the gazette said.

The measure came out last month after approval of the constitution backed by the military junta that has governed the country since the 2014 coup and which, as per the monarch's wishes, was amended to give the 64-year-old king more powers.

Vajiralongkorn was proclaimed king of Thailand on December 1, 2016, after the death of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13 of that year, but he will not be crowned until the late king's cremation ceremony on October 26, 2017.