Senior Thai royal official dismissed in latest shake-up: palace

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s Royal Household Bureau has dismissed a top palace official for “extremely evil behavior”, a note on Wednesday said, in what appears to be the latest shake-up under new King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

FILE PHOTO - Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun watches the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony in central Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The removal of Grand Chamberlain Distorn Vajarodaya, whose role is to manage the royal household, was announced by the palace in a document dated Nov. 6, media reported.

The document lists things that Distorn allegedly did including falsifying a 25 million baht ($754,830) charity receipt for royal honors and tax evasion in the name of the crown.

“The Bureau of the Royal Household deemed Distorn’s ... acts as disciplinary misconducts considered as extremely evil behavior deserving of dismissal from the civil service,” the royal household bureau said.

A palace official told Reuters on Wednesday that she was unable to comment on the matter.

Reuters was unable to reach Distorn for comment.

Distorn’s dismissal is the latest sign of the new king’s assertiveness and part of an ongoing purge of officials who the palace says did not perform or behave according to their rank.

King Vajiralongkorn, 65, who inherited the throne last year following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has set about reordering the palace, including the way its finances are managed.

In February, a top palace official was also fired for “extremely evil” misconduct.

Late King Bhumibol died in Oct. 2016 aged 88 after ruling for seven decades. During his reign, he helped revive the prestige of the monarchy with the help of a powerful palace public relations machine.

He was cremated on Oct. 26 after a year of mourning.

The funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands of people who thronged Bangkok’s historic area to watch a series of spectacular processions and ancient Buddhist and Hindu rites and say goodbye.

Reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat, Pracha Hariraksapitak, Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Panu Wongcha-um and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie