Date
18 January 2017
Well-wishers hold pictures of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they pray for him at the Siriraj hospital in Bangkok on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
Well-wishers hold pictures of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they pray for him at the Siriraj hospital in Bangkok on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Thai premier returns to Bangkok amid concern for king

Thailand’s military government has sought to quell rumors and speculation about the health of King Bhumibol Adulyadej as stocks and the baht fell.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha cut short a provincial trip to return to Bangkok “in order to prepare for an audience with His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for a routine presentation on the government’s work in progress”, Bloomberg reports, citing a statement from Prayuth’s office.

The statement urged Thais “to rely on official announcements for an update on situations, rather than uncorroborated information in social media circles”.

Prayuth wasn’t planning any statement on Wednesday, government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said, without discussing the subject of any rumors.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Prayuth waved to reporters and said, “Go home, go home!”

The Thai baht fell and stocks dropped for a third day after the royal palace said on Sunday that Bhumibol’s health was “unstable”, the report said.

#LongLiveTheKing was the top trending topic on Twitter in Thailand on Wednesday, with more than 240,000 tweets depicting the monarch at various stages of his life.

Posts showed Thais holding portraits of Bhumibol and photos of him meeting with his people or playing music.

The 88-year-old monarch has been a symbol of unity in Thailand, which has had 10 coups during his seven-decade reign.

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