Concerned about king's health, Thais
flock to Bangkok hospital
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[October 13, 2016]
By Aukkarapon Niyomyat
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Several hundred people
gathered at a Bangkok hospital on Thursday where Thailand's King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, is in an
unstable condition as the government urged jittery stock investors to
The palace said in a statement late on Wednesday the king's health had
"overall not yet stabilized" and the 88-year-old was on a ventilator and
battling a new infection.
It followed a statement on Sunday saying the king was in an unstable
condition after receiving haemodialysis treatment.
No statement had been issued on Thursday by late afternoon but Prime
Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had canceled an evening engagement. No reason
"There will be no dinner tonight for the police which the prime minister
was due to attend. That engagement has been called off," Piyaphand
Pingmuang, a deputy police spokesman, told Reuters.
Prayuth will also cancel his attendance at a summit in Goa, India, on
Sunday, the government said. Again, no reason was given.
Well-wishers gathered outside Siriraj Hospital, which is near Bangkok's
Chao Phraya river, where the king has spent much of the past year.
Some wore yellow, the king's color, and others donned pink, a colur they
believe will bring the king an improvement in his health. Some prayed.
"I was worried so I came here to see for myself," said housewife
Thornpan Tornueng, 67.
"This evening I will take part in chanting for the king."
All of the king's four children, including Crown Prince Maha
Vajiralongkorn, visited the hospital on Thursday, a Reuters reporter at
the scene said, the second day in a row that all four children were at
their father's bedside.
The king has long been seen as a unifying figure in Thailand, which has
grappled with political uncertainty in recent years. His health, which
is watched closely, is a sensitive subject.
Strict lese-majeste laws mean public discussions of his health and any
succession plans are punishable by lengthy jail terms.
Investors in the Stock Exchange of Thailand have sold shares since
Sunday's statement from the Royal Household Bureau on the king's health.
[to top of second column]
Well-wishers holds up portraits of Thailand's King Bhumibol
Adulyadej at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, October 13,
2016. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom
The main index fell as much as 6.9 percent on Wednesday to its
lowest since March 1, but recovered to close down 2.5 percent, its
lowest since the end of May.
It was up 0.47 percent by Thursday afternoon after falling just over
2 percent by the mid-day break.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said he had asked the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate rumors that
had been affecting the market.
"I will tell the SEC to investigate who spread the news and who
caused stocks to fall. Foreigners are waiting to pick up stocks and
Thais are selling them," Somkid told reporters.
"I don't think it's beneficial to do that because this is an
important time for the country and we should not undermine
"Don't listen to rumors. Please only listen to the government," he
The government on Wednesday urged people to ignore rumors on social
media and wait for official announcements.
(Additional reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Panarat Thepgumpanat,
Pracha Hariraksapitak, Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Pairat
Temphairojana; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Robert
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