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Prayuth Chan-ocha, left, remains Thailand's prime minister, but Gen. Apirat Kongsompong has been tasked with reshaping the military. (© Nikkei montage/Source photos by Reuters)
Asia Insight

All the king's men: Thai military power shifts away from Prayuth

Monarch's faith in rival faction sends clear message to coup leaders

MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR, Asia regional correspondent | Thailand

BANGKOK -- When diplomats in Bangkok meet Thailand's military top brass, they look for clues on where officers stand in the context of royal protocol. One sign is easy to spot: the image of Prince Dipangkorn, the king's 14-year-old son. It is pinned on the left breasts of a select few military leaders' deep-green uniforms, alongside their service ribbons.

Among those who currently sport the pin is the hawkish army commander in chief, Gen. Apirat Kongsompong. "Only a small network of people is allowed to wear it," said one Western diplomat after a meeting with Apirat, who is described by many foreign envoys as "fiercely loyal to the king."

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