The newly appointed Thai army chief said yesterday that he believes most anti-royalists are mentally ill, and that he has recently sent one of them to a mental asylum.
When asked by a reporter at a press conference yesterday of his plan to protect the monarchy, Gen. Apirat Kongsompong, appointed chief of the Royal Thai Army on Oct. 1, said the organization’s duty is to serve the king, therefore, the monarch is the true chief of the Thai Army.
“Most insults towards the monarchy came from those who are mentally unstable. For example … I didn’t want to mention this person’s name. He received an evaluation and turned out to have mental disorders. He was sent to Srithanya Hospital,” he told the press.
“Most anti-royalists are mentally unstable, and the ones who don’t aren’t [mentally unstable] just have bizarre ways of thinking. These people had to flee the country because they couldn’t live in Thailand,” he continued.
“We have always been protected by the monarchy, since our grandfather’s generations. Why can’t they [the anti-monarchists] be grateful for that? Everybody is patriotic here. Governments change, but the monarch will always stay with Thailand.”
“I will protect the monarchy with everything I’ve got,” he said.
Any criticism of the monarchy are punishable under Thailand’s lese majeste law, which carries up to 15 years in jail.
Earlier this month, more than 1,600 police officers were assigned to protect King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his family, quadrupling the previous force, in preparation for the monarch’s official coronation, according to AFP.
However, the unit has not been tasked with scouring the public for violations of the lese majeste law.
The coronation date has not yet been set.