What are the property laws in Thailand

Most wealthy monarch in the world : Rich, richer, Vajiralongkorn

The portraits of Bhumibol still hang in many places in Thailand, recently flanked by pictures of his son. Since the death of the revered monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej in October 2016, Thailand has a new king with the beautiful long name Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. Before his accession to the throne, his colorful lifestyle made headlines - but only in foreign media. In Thailand, on the other hand, only well-sorted positive news about the king and his royal family fill the main TV channels every evening during prime time. In Thailand, a strict law still applies, which provides for up to 15 years imprisonment for lese majesty. Which is why many things that concern the royal family are not discussed publicly in Thailand. This is also the case with the latest news from the palace, which even leading media such as the English-language daily newspaper "Bangkok Post" keep silent about.

It is an official message: Vajiralongkorn has received a remarkable multi-billion dollar fortune. With an estimated wealth of $ 30 billion to $ 60 billion, the Thai king is considered the richest monarch in the world, ahead of the Sultan of Brunei, who comes to $ 20 billion.

The king also has to pay taxes on his property

Previously, the Thai monarchy's assets, including stakes in large corporations and property in downtown Bangkok, had been administered by the royal financial administration, the Crown Property Bureau (CPB). Now the royal family has transferred the entire property to the direct property of the king, who can dispose of them at its own discretion - but must also start paying taxes on them.

Vajiralongkorn had not been in Thailand for a long time before his accession to the throne. He spent a lot of time abroad, especially in Upper Bavaria. He preferred to stay in his villa on Lake Starnberg, where he was occasionally photographed picking strawberries in a strawberry field with his escort, or when he got out of an airplane in an undershirt. After the death of his father Bhumibol, he initiated a change of image.

Vajiralongkorn also consolidated his personal authority with the transfer of the royal palace property. At the same time, Vajiralongkorn has worked hard to be considered a deserving and sympathetic successor to his father - which is important since the Thai king is traditionally seen as a leading force and moral authority in politics. The rural population even considered him a god-king.

But Bhumibol is history, his son brings a new style. The parliament, handpicked by the coup generals, changed the royal property law last year for the first time in 69 years to give Vajiralongkorn full control of the Thai crown's asset management. In March the King also deposed the General Director of the CPB, who had been in office since 1987, and replaced him with his personal adjudicator.

CPB, which previously managed the Thai Crown's properties and had no access to its books, announced in an undated statement on its website that “the assets previously registered in the name of the Crown Property Bureau are now in the name To be kept by His Majesty ”. The king's property will be "subject to the same duties and taxes as the property of any other citizen," said the statement, which, however, did not specify the assets transferred. The Crown Property Bureau managed Krone real estate as well as shares in Siam Commercial Bank and Siam Cement Group, a leading manufacturer of cement and building materials.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn is still not crowned eight months after his father's cremation. More than four and a half years after the last coup, the Southeast Asian kingdom is also waiting for the promised elections, which have been postponed several times and will finally take place in February 2019. Even party work remains banned in Thailand. In May, the junta charged three opposition politicians with sedition who mocked the military government's broken promise to restore democracy as soon as possible.

The king himself holds back, little is to be seen of him. Vajiralongkorn can often be represented at official events and receptions.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page