Sea Change Awaits Trump in Thailand

Sea Change Awaits Trump in ThailandThree months after his election, a month after inauguration, Donald Trump has not publicly mentioned Thailand.  Yet in a looming foreign policy crisis over the South China Sea, the seeds of which the president partly inherited and has partly sowed, the kingdom is poised to play an outsized and oppositional role.  China has territorial disputes…

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?The mystery is over. After decades of question marks over the Thai royal succession, former Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is now Rama X of the Chakri dynasty. After a period of suspense after his father’s death, the son and heir has been invited to become king, and has accepted. Yet much mystery remains about how the…

Thailand Faces Uncertain Future Under Erratic Pretender

Thailand Faces Uncertain Future Under Erratic PretenderWith the Oct. 13 death of Thailand’s 88-year-old monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country enters unknown territory, with his heir, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, widely recognized as an erratic and out of control womanizer. And given the growing use of social media, the Thai public largely knows the sordid tales despite the overwhelming efforts of the…

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, 1927-2016

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, 1927-2016Former Far Eastern Economic Review Correspondent Paul Handley, the author of "The King Never Smiles," by far the most authoritative book ever written on the Thai monarch, wrote this assessment of his reign exclusively for Asia Sentinel Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on Oct. 13 at 88, was Asia's most venerable head of state…

Scandal at Thai Wind Concern Threatens US$2 billion IPO

Scandal at Thai Wind Concern Threatens US$2 billion IPOAsama Thanyaphan, the 40-year-old corporate accounts manager at Thai renewable energy firm Wind Energy Holdings, posted her resignation letter to bosses on a quiet Friday afternoon in Bangkok, on the eve of this year's long Labor Day weekend. By the time offices reopened and the company’s human relations department received her note, Asama was on the run in Laos, fearing for her…

Thai Media Magnate Pays the Price for Backing Wrong Royalist Faction

Thai Media Magnate Pays the Price for Backing Wrong Royalist FactionThe jailing for 20 years of media magnate and one-time Royalist Yellow Shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul   says less about his offense – creating a fraudulent report to support a loan transaction on a linked company – than it does on Thailand’s legal system. Sondhi, once a fervent supporter of the royalist faction aligned with the…

Thailand’s Notorious ‘Da Torpedo’ Goes Free

Thailand’s Notorious ‘Da Torpedo’ Goes FreeThe freeing of political prisoner Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, better known as Da Torpedo, and two other lese majeste prisoners in Thailand over the weekend from prolonged sentences to Thai prisons masks the fact that hundreds of prisoners have been pushed through military courts with almost no rights since the 2014 coup that brought the National Council…

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug Problems

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug ProblemsIn February of 2003, then-Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra launched a bloody “war on drugs” that lasted for three months and resulted in police killings of 2,800 suspects, only half of whom were later found to have anything to do with drugs. The rest may simply have been in the wrong place at the wrong…

Junta Wins Thailand’s Farcical Election

Junta Wins Thailand’s Farcical ElectionAlthough Thailand’s junta won the Aug. 7 referendum on a draft constitution with 62 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, any idea that this was a democratic election that validates the army’s hold on power is specious. It is highly unlikely that the result, being welcomed by the junta as a triumph, is…

Thailand Awaits a Rigged Referendum

Thailand Awaits a Rigged ReferendumOn Aug. 7, Thailand’s 40 million-odd voters are scheduled to go to the polls to vote on a draft constitution that the junta has attempted to rig so thoroughly that it thinks it can’t lose, although it might anyway. The goal of the draft constitution – the country’s 19th since the military staged its first…
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