Former palace aide charged after falling from grace
BANGKOK: A former police officer who was fired for gross misconduct as one of the new king’s most senior aides was taken to a police station yesterday to face a charge of building on public land.
Jumpol Manmai’s dismissal from the palace was one of the most prominent under King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has asserted his authority on several fronts since taking the throne in December following the death of his father.
Jumpol looked gaunt and tired as he arrived at the Crime Suppression Division in a grey T-shirt instead of his usual uniform and braid. His head had been shaved — a ritual humiliation for those who fall from grace with the palace.
Jumpol was fired for misconduct described by the palace as “extremely evil”. He abused his post for personal gain and his political interests threatened national security, it said.
He does not face charges related to those accusations, but to illegal private building on protected forest land in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. Four people are accused alongside him.
Speculation over Jumpol’s fate and whereabouts in recent days had been fuelled by the deaths in custody in 2015 of two men, who had been accused of insulting the palace and abusing links to the monarchy.
Jumpol served as intelligence chief under Thaksin Shinawatra, whose populist movement’s confrontation with the elite had been behind more than a decade of turmoil in the country.
REUTERS PIC Jumpol Manmai arriving at a police station in Bangkok yesterday to face charges.