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Politics

Thai king fires 6 palace officials over 'abuse of power'

Military officials among those sacked two days after consort's removal

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida wave to the crowds during a public appearance. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

BANGKOK -- Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn dismissed six palace officials Wednesday, accusing them of abusing their positions for personal gain.

The aides, who include senior police and military officials serving the royal family, engaged in "serious misconduct" and "extremely evil" deeds, according to announcements on their firing.

The move has been called a show of force ahead of an upcoming royal procession in honor of the king's coronation.

The firings also come two days after the monarch stripped his consort, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, of her position and her royal and military titles, alleging that she put pressure on the queen. Sineenat has not been seen in public since, spurring some Thais to voice concern about her welfare.

Since acceding to the throne in 2016, King Vajiralongkorn has sought to strengthen the powers of the monarchy. The king has brought the royal guard -- which includes military and police forces -- under his direct supervision, and secured a provision in the constitution to let him travel abroad without having to appoint a regent in his stead.

The government has also revised legislation to give the king full control over the monarchy's assets, said to exceed 1.4 trillion baht ($46.2 billion).

King Vajiralongkorn boasts an estimated net worth of $30 billion, making him the world's wealthiest monarch, according to Business Insider.

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