As Thais mourn king, black clothes booms

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Thai­land’s govern­ment has warned of a na­tional short­age of black cloth­ing, which is fly­ing off shelves as a dis­traught na­tion mourns beloved late King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej. The com­merce min­istry also said it would work with man­u­fac­tur­ers to en­sure a sta­ble sup­ply of mourn­ing wear while threat­en­ing stiff pun­ish­ments for price-goug­ing by mer­chants. Thai­land has been plunged into grief by the death on Thurs­day of King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej, who reigned as a deeply revered god-like fig­ure for 70 years.

A range of pub­lic ac­tiv­i­ties have been can­celled and tele­vi­sion pro­gram­ming and nightlife has been or­dered to tone it down for the next month out of re­spect. The di­rec­tives have raised some con­cern that the econ­omy would suf­fer, but sales of black cloth­ing, at least, are boom­ing. The com­merce min­istry’s di­rec­tor-gen­eral of in­ter­nal trade Nuntawan Sakun­tanaga has called on con­sumers to put off pur­chases of mourn­ing wear un­til man­u­fac­tur­ers can catch up with de­mand.

“The sup­ply of black shirts may be low for a few days but gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers have in­sisted that there will not be a short­age, while they will quote prices as nor­mal,” she said, ac­cord­ing to The Na­tion. Since the king’s death, black cloth­ing was be­ing sold at double the nor­mal price in some cases, Nuntawan said. Price­gougers could face fines of up to 140,000 baht ($3,900) and seven years in jail, she added.

Bhu­mi­bol was the only king most Thais have ever known, a fa­ther fig­ure with an im­age of moral rec­ti­tude whose loss has pro­foundly touched mil­lions in the coun­try. On Fri­day tens of thou­sands of his griev­ing sub­jects, many hold­ing aloft por­traits of the king, lined the route of a mo­tor­cade that bore his body to the royal palace in Bangkok from the hos­pi­tal were he died at the age of 88.

— AFP

BANGKOK: Mourn­ers have food in a restau­rant next to pho­tos of the late Thai King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej.

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