King meets ex-communists
His Majesty the King granted an audience to former members of the now-defunct Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and stressed that Thailand needs people who love the country and the royal institution.
On Thursday, His Majesty the King had an audience with a group of "Thai nation development cooperators" from five northeastern provinces -- Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Mukdahan, Kalasin and Udon Thani -- in the main auditorium of Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University in Sakon Nakhon's Muang district.
His Majesty was accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Thai nation development cooperators are former members of the CPT, which was based in Nakhon Phanom's Na Kae district at the height of the communist insurgency in Thailand.
They received assistance from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great to improve their livelihoods and return to normal society after turning themselves in.
"I am glad that all of you have become pillars of the nation. And you love the country, the people and the institution. Currently, the country needs people who love the country and the institution," His Majesty said.
"You have experience that can be used for the benefit of the country. You can use it to teach a new generation. It will be very useful," the monarch told the gathering.
Prime Minister's Order 66/23 was introduced by the government of Gen Prem Tinsulanonda in 1980 to allow those members of the party who had fled into the jungle to join the CPT to reintegrate into society and join a national development programme aimed at rehabilitating them.