Thai king makes 3 appointments to his advisory council

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s king has appointed the country’s recently retired army commander, a former air force commander and a prominent civil servant to his advisory board.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun’s appointments to the Privy Council were officially announced Tuesday with their publication in the Royal Gazette.

Vajiralongkorn has sought to put his own stamp on the monarchy since he took the throne after the death in 2016 of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for seven decades.

The new privy councilors are former army chief Gen. Chalermchai Sitthisart, former air force chief Air Chief Marshal Jom Rungsawang and former central bank chairman Ampon Kittiampon. Thailand has been under military rule since the army staged a coup in 2014 against an elected government. Vajiralongkorn has served as an air force pilot qualified in flying jet fighters and helicopters, and also on occasion also pilots the royal family’s own Boeing 737.

The council now has 16 members.

Vajiralongkorn has restructured several royal institutions, most notably the Crown Property Bureau, which had controlled the palace’s vast and lucrative holdings. Most of the royal property had been managed by trusted professional advisers to King Bhumibol and was technically not the property of the monarch, but Vajairalongkorn has put much of it more closely under his personal control.

There have also been changes in some security forces. A statement published Monday in the Royal Gazette ordered the establishment of a new police unit, mainly to provide protection to the king and other royal family members.

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