Thais line up for ban­knotes hon­or­ing king

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Bangkok

Thais waited pa­tiently in long lines out­side govern­ment banks on Tues­day to se­cure spe­cial com­mem­o­ra­tive 100 baht cur­rency notes in honor of the late King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej.

The note was re­leased five years ago by the Bank of Thai­land, but in­ter­est in it was re­newed after the king’s death on Oct 13.

Peo­ple be­gan lin­ing up in the early morn­ing at banks around the coun­try to pur­chase the note, which was avail­able for twice its face value at 200 baht ($5.71).

The ban­knote fea­tures images of the king visit­ing Thai peo­ple, plant­ing grass and play­ing the sax­o­phone. It is printed with metal­lic gold ink, in­stead of the red in the reg­u­lar 100 baht bill.

“I want to keep ev­ery sin­gle note that has a por­trait of the king, be­cause one day they’ll be all gone since we’ll be liv­ing un­der a new monarch,’’ said 24-year-old Suri­na­mon Rakkaew.

Be­cause of the huge de­mand, at least one bank, the Govern­ment Sav­ings Bank that had a stock of 90,000 bills, said it will limit the sale to five bills per cus­tomer.

“We believe that all 90,000 bills will be dis­trib­uted today and we are in the process of re­quest­ing more bills from the Bank of Thai­land,’’ said Vi­tai Ratanakorn, a top of­fi­cial of the bank. He said he ex­pects a new stock of 200,000 bills will be­come avail­ableonThurs­day.

Bhu­mi­bol’s death after a reign of 70 years has trig­gered an in­tense out­pour­ing of grief in Thai­land, where the monar­chy is revered. Since his death, Thais have been quick to pur­chase items or par­take in ac­tiv­i­ties, such as alms-giv­ing, as ways to com­mem­o­rate the mem­ory of the late king.

“I came to ex­changemy bills as a me­mento so that one day I can com­mem­o­rate the late king Rama IX,’’ said 35-yearold Pawan To­muean, us­ing the king’s for­mal ti­tle, as he care­fully in­serted his newly ac­quired bill into a pro­tec­tive case. “One day I will be able to cel­e­brate his good­ness and all the great things he did for this na­tion.’’

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