The billionaire king of Thailand is running out of friends, at home and abroad.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spends much of his time in Germany, in a hotel in the Bavarian Alps, accompanied by a modern-day harem of up to 20 female consorts, has nowbeen warned by Angela Merkel’s government not to conduct state business from German soil.
His residency there, which was revealed at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis when the hotel sought special permission to stay open, has become a flash point for unprecedented protests in Thailand against the repressive state and the semi-divine royal family.
The protests have been inflamed by reports of the king’s vast wealth, estimated by London’s Financial Times at between $30bn and $40bn, after sovereign funds were effectively put under his direct control by the leaders of a successful 2014 coup. He is