Thai police seek official on lese majeste charge


BANGKOK — Thai police said Wednesday they plan to arrest a senior palace official who is linked to the Crown Prince’s ex-wife, under a controversial royal defamation law. Montri Sotangkul, 53, was part of the household staff of Princess Srirasmi, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s former wife. She fell dramatically from grace when a corruption scandal enveloped her family late last year.

Montri, who remained at the palace following Srirasmi’s downfall, is accused of defaming the monarchy by improperly using his royal connections to make financial gains, police said.

��Montri has claimed that he is close to members of the royal family to make profit for himself�� in land and business deals, National Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung told reporters. ��The former princess recruited him to work for her and he has nothing to do with the Crown Prince,�� he added. It is highly unusual for palace officials to face police investigations, let alone on lese majeste charges. But Somyot said he had written to the Royal Household Bureau, telling it to hand Montri over to police custody on Thursday.