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Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:02 pm
by Airbus747
As advised by a moderator, I'm moving this discussion to the Non-Aviation forum.

While discussing the financial troubles of Thai Airways TG, I shared some insights about the king of Thailand's impune and lavish lifestyle:
- $250 million+ a year of taxpayer money just for him
- Villas and mistresses in Germany and Switzerland
- He's rarely ever in Thailand and mostly lives in Europe
- More interestingly, he has a "Royal Thai Air Force" Boeing 737/BBJ
(Per Thai sources he, aged 67, is also a pilot of this aircraft)

According to FR24, he appears to fly almost every few days between Munich, Zurich and Berlin:
https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/hs-hmk

How could I find additional information about the nature and cost of these flights, and his activities in Europe, as he just seems to continue burdening the taxpayer for his personal pleasures (he never does state/official visits)?

I will shortly follow up with more background about the context in Thailand and why this is important.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:06 pm
by Airbus747
And here's why this matters:

Today is the anniversary of the Thammasat University Massacre in Thailand, largely attributed to the royal family, when 45-100 students were killed. Yet 43 years later the royals are still in power and use their position arbitrarily to usurp the people.

Many Thai people, including my friend who is a junior civil servant there, complain about how the Thai monarchy has built a mafia-life "culture of fear". There are radical censorship laws that punish any negative remark about the royal family (including lifetime prison and forced disappearances) - hence why most Thai people are scared to tell the truth.

All this has also led to the country being ruled by a military junta, just as unaccountable as the king. Most recently the military came to power after a coup d'etat in 2014 and also ran a clearly staged election earlier this year to justify their power. They obviously have a great financial interest in keeping a positive image of the country for foreign tourists and (s)expats, but their failures are starting emerge and to outrage Thai people from all spheres.

If you are unsure about how seriously they take their job, consider that one of the country's Air Chief Marshal's was the king's poodle!
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl ... 61021.html

While Thai people are heavily punished for questioning or criticising their king, perhaps we who live outside could easily check, for the public interest, what the Thai king is doing in Europe with his B737 and all those $250 million a year taxpayer money.

If for any reason you're afraid to write in public, feel free to PM me.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:35 pm
by Aesma
I guess he speaks German, but his choice of European cities to patronize is still a bit strange.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:07 am
by Dutchy
We might see the last king of Thailand if things continue like this. Everyone can see that these people step over the line and as I understand it, they are less loved by the people than the last king.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:59 am
by Airbus747
Aesma wrote:
I guess he speaks German, but his choice of European cities to patronize is still a bit strange.

So, according to a recent article King Rama X aka Vajiralongkorn visited some local police riot dog training school (German local newspaper, with part paywall, but informative headline/description).

It's certain that he owns and often lives in a villa in a tiny Bavarian town (near Munich). A few months ago Bavarian locals complained that the Thai king had installed surveillance cameras everywhere around his property, including where passerbys just have a walk, and has badly hidden them in bird nests. The article says:
- Because there is no official sign about it, it could violate German privacy laws.
- The neighbours also dislike his entourage who carry arms openly in public.
- They block access to any restaurant where the king may happen to eat.
- People are unaware of which German authority is allowing him to do this.
A later article (see below) says that the surveillance cameras were removed following public criticism.

German tabloids take note of the Thai king's "mysterious flights across Europe":
He was seen in his 737 cockpit in Sylt. He landed, never left the plane, and took off an hour later.

On FR24 I found that he does this frequently, i.e. fly somewhere, stay at the airport and then return to the origin.
Image

The same article later states that he probably does so to build flying hours to be able to obtain (or maintain?) a CPL, because he wants to be at the controls of his Boeing / become a captain. Could this hypothesis be true?

Swiss newspapers (English) this summer reported that the Thai king is often seen cycling almost half-naked around various towns in Switzerland. Interestingly, it states that the police wasn't informed of any royal visit.

Various other articles report that his wives and mistresses live across Germany and Switzerland, e.g.
[...]
Vajiralongkorn spends much of his time with his mistress at the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in the German resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Suthida, meanwhile, reportedly spends most of her time alone at the Hotel Waldegg in Engelberg in Switzerland.
[...]

All this extravagance is funded by taxpayer money.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:12 am
by Airbus747
Dutchy wrote:
[...] less loved by the people than the last king.

Most doubt if the last king, Rama IX aka King Bhumibol, was really loved.

Lese majeste law was heavily enforced and severly punished anyone who expressed even the tiniest criticism against the monarchy.

People have been used to living in fear, so I wonder if it was ever true love.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:32 am
by Pellegrine
How is all that funded by taxpayers if King Bhumibol was worth $30 billion when he passed away? The son didn't get any money?

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:03 pm
by trpmb6
I would be wary of tabloids..

But sounds as if there is at least some truth to this.

Flying from one airport to another is pretty innocuous. Probably just traveling to pick something up and didn't want to pay for the next day air shipping fees.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:56 pm
by LJ
Another question, why does he always make a short stop in Bubai whereas his BBJ2 should be able to fly MUC-BKK nonstop (why else buy a BBJ2?). BTW how long will it take before he (or someone in his entourage) discover that you can actually block your plane from being visible on flightradar24? Very strange that this aircraft isn't blocked on FR24.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:28 pm
by Pyrex
Pellegrine wrote:
How is all that funded by taxpayers if King Bhumibol was worth $30 billion when he passed away? The son didn't get any money?


Where do you think that $30 billion came from?

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:37 am
by Fiend
Airbus747 wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
[...] less loved by the people than the last king.

Most doubt if the last king, Rama IX aka King Bhumibol, was really loved.

Lese majeste law was heavily enforced and severly punished anyone who expressed even the tiniest criticism against the monarchy.

People have been used to living in fear, so I wonder if it was ever true love.


King Rama IX was very highly regarded by the Thai's. I was in Thailand for a couple of weeks after he passed away and you could see what his passing meant to Thai's.

King Rama X? He isn't as highly respected and it's probably due to his playboy past.

Do the Thai's live in fear? From what I have seen over the last 15 years of visiting Thailand the answer is no!!!

I will also add that I have been married to a Thai for 10 years.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:00 am
by Pellegrine
Pyrex wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
How is all that funded by taxpayers if King Bhumibol was worth $30 billion when he passed away? The son didn't get any money?


Where do you think that $30 billion came from?


That 30 billion was mostly held in the crown's real estate holdings. So IDK. Maybe they have a situation like the British Royal Family. I doubt he'd be using the Thai treasury like a personal checking account.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:21 am
by Pyrex
The only way any dynastical politician accumulated such an amount of wealth is by stealing it. Maybe he did it personally, maybe his father did, maybe it was his grandfather, but no King or Queen ever worked for that money. Whether that be the Assad in Syria, this guy in Thailand, MBS in Saudi Arabia or Lizzie in England.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:52 pm
by Pellegrine
Pyrex wrote:
The only way any dynastical politician accumulated such an amount of wealth is by stealing it. Maybe he did it personally, maybe his father did, maybe it was his grandfather, but no King or Queen ever worked for that money. Whether that be the Assad in Syria, this guy in Thailand, MBS in Saudi Arabia or Lizzie in England.


Color me shocked. :eek:

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:10 pm
by Airbus747
Fiend wrote:
Airbus747 wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
[...] less loved by the people than the last king.

Most doubt if the last king, Rama IX aka King Bhumibol, was really loved.

Lese majeste law was heavily enforced and severly punished anyone who expressed even the tiniest criticism against the monarchy.

People have been used to living in fear, so I wonder if it was ever true love.


King Rama IX was very highly regarded by the Thai's. I was in Thailand for a couple of weeks after he passed away and you could see what his passing meant to Thai's.


But was anyone really free to express anything different?

If he was highly regarded, why would even the slightest criticism against him (and the whole monarchy) need to be suppressed so harshly? Why would there be a need to enforce such severe lese majeste punishments for merely stating a different opinion?

From my friend in civil service: anyone going to work, from university professors and school teachers to shop assistants, was forced to show sadness and mourn during that period, failing which they faced social exclusion.

Also need to ask: why were children told since first grade not to discuss anything negative about the king and the monarchy?


Fiend wrote:
Do the Thai's live in fear? From what I have seen over the last 15 years of visiting Thailand the answer is no!!!


If that's true, then why do people with different views flee, live in exile and hide even while being refugees abroad?
See Reuters article
See Human Rights Watch report, section on Enforced Disappearances and Torture in Thailand

When they know they are constantly under threat of being jailed, tortured or disappearing for thinking differently, would they express their fear like most people would do in a free country?

I appreciate that the situation in Thailand is not well-known or well-reported in the West for a number of reasons (especially because it cannot be even reported in Thailand!), and I hope this discussion inspires more people to be curious and dig deeper into it.

Very recent news:
King Vajiralongkorn dismisses his official mistress (The Economist)

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:28 pm
by Airbus747
Update today: Business Insider article on King Vajiralongkorn / Rama X

Seems like the issue is attracting more attention:
"The United Nations' rights body has issued a warning that Thailand's use of lèse-majesté might 'constitute crimes against humanity.' The legislation has been in effect since Thailand's first criminal code was created in 1908. And the military-backed government says the law is needed to protect the monarchy."

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:10 pm
by Fiend
Airbus747 wrote:
Fiend wrote:
Airbus747 wrote:
Most doubt if the last king, Rama IX aka King Bhumibol, was really loved.

Lese majeste law was heavily enforced and severly punished anyone who expressed even the tiniest criticism against the monarchy.

People have been used to living in fear, so I wonder if it was ever true love.


King Rama IX was very highly regarded by the Thai's. I was in Thailand for a couple of weeks after he passed away and you could see what his passing meant to Thai's.


But was anyone really free to express anything different?

If he was highly regarded, why would even the slightest criticism against him (and the whole monarchy) need to be suppressed so harshly? Why would there be a need to enforce such severe lese majeste punishments for merely stating a different opinion?

From my friend in civil service: anyone going to work, from university professors and school teachers to shop assistants, was forced to show sadness and mourn during that period, failing which they faced social exclusion.

Also need to ask: why were children told since first grade not to discuss anything negative about the king and the monarchy?


Fiend wrote:
Do the Thai's live in fear? From what I have seen over the last 15 years of visiting Thailand the answer is no!!!


If that's true, then why do people with different views flee, live in exile and hide even while being refugees abroad?
See Reuters article
See Human Rights Watch report, section on Enforced Disappearances and Torture in Thailand

When they know they are constantly under threat of being jailed, tortured or disappearing for thinking differently, would they express their fear like most people would do in a free country?

I appreciate that the situation in Thailand is not well-known or well-reported in the West for a number of reasons (especially because it cannot be even reported in Thailand!), and I hope this discussion inspires more people to be curious and dig deeper into it.

Very recent news:
King Vajiralongkorn dismisses his official mistress (The Economist)


I was in Thailand less than a week after the King Rama IX died, it certainly didn't look like forced sadness and mourning.

Do Thai people live in fear? It's not the impression I get and I've made several trips to Thailand during the last 15 years.

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:23 pm
by NIKV69
Fiend wrote:
Airbus747 wrote:
Fiend wrote:

King Rama IX was very highly regarded by the Thai's. I was in Thailand for a couple of weeks after he passed away and you could see what his passing meant to Thai's.


But was anyone really free to express anything different?

If he was highly regarded, why would even the slightest criticism against him (and the whole monarchy) need to be suppressed so harshly? Why would there be a need to enforce such severe lese majeste punishments for merely stating a different opinion?

From my friend in civil service: anyone going to work, from university professors and school teachers to shop assistants, was forced to show sadness and mourn during that period, failing which they faced social exclusion.

Also need to ask: why were children told since first grade not to discuss anything negative about the king and the monarchy?


Fiend wrote:

One of our beloved Superfly lives in Thailand and he paints a different picture. Sweet bird as well.
Do the Thai's live in fear? From what I have seen over the last 15 years of visiting Thailand the answer is no!!!


If that's true, then why do people with different views flee, live in exile and hide even while being refugees abroad?
See Reuters article
See Human Rights Watch report, section on Enforced Disappearances and Torture in Thailand

When they know they are constantly under threat of being jailed, tortured or disappearing for thinking differently, would they express their fear like most people would do in a free country?

I appreciate that the situation in Thailand is not well-known or well-reported in the West for a number of reasons (especially because it cannot be even reported in Thailand!), and I hope this discussion inspires more people to be curious and dig deeper into it.

Very recent news:
King Vajiralongkorn dismisses his official mistress (The Economist)


I was in Thailand less than a week after the King Rama IX died, it certainly didn't look like forced sadness and mourning.

Do Thai people live in fear? It's not the impression I get and I've made several trips to Thailand during the last 15 years.


Superfly lives there and he doesn't think so. BTW that bird is sweet!

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:59 am
by DeltaMD90
Anecdotal but my expat friend that lives there said everyone loved the old King but dislikes this one. Of course, they're not very vocal about that.

But again, anecdotal

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:54 am
by WarRI1
NIKV69 wrote:
Fiend wrote:
Airbus747 wrote:

But was anyone really free to express anything different?

If he was highly regarded, why would even the slightest criticism against him (and the whole monarchy) need to be suppressed so harshly? Why would there be a need to enforce such severe lese majeste punishments for merely stating a different opinion?

From my friend in civil service: anyone going to work, from university professors and school teachers to shop assistants, was forced to show sadness and mourn during that period, failing which they faced social exclusion.

Also need to ask: why were children told since first grade not to discuss anything negative about the king and the monarchy?




If that's true, then why do people with different views flee, live in exile and hide even while being refugees abroad?
See Reuters article
See Human Rights Watch report, section on Enforced Disappearances and Torture in Thailand

When they know they are constantly under threat of being jailed, tortured or disappearing for thinking differently, would they express their fear like most people would do in a free country?

I appreciate that the situation in Thailand is not well-known or well-reported in the West for a number of reasons (especially because it cannot be even reported in Thailand!), and I hope this discussion inspires more people to be curious and dig deeper into it.

Very recent news:
King Vajiralongkorn dismisses his official mistress (The Economist)


I was in Thailand less than a week after the King Rama IX died, it certainly didn't look like forced sadness and mourning.

Do Thai people live in fear? It's not the impression I get and I've made several trips to Thailand during the last 15 years.


Superfly lives there and he doesn't think so. BTW that bird is sweet!



What the heck happened to Superfly, was his computer confiscated? ;) ;)

Re: Thai King Vajiralongkorn's B737 and $250M wasted taxpayer money

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:00 am
by NIKV69
WarRI1 wrote:


What the heck happened to Superfly, was his computer confiscated? ;) ;)


Hope not but then again he has all those Thai girls. :cloudnine: I would spend less time here lol.