For­mer palace aide charged af­ter falling from grace

New Straits Times - - World -

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.

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