German govt clears HM King's visits
BERLIN/BANGKOK: The German government has cleared Thailand's King of breaching its ban on conducting politics while staying there, according to a parliamentary source.
Thai protesters asked Germany on Monday to look into whether His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 68, had conducted state business, such as the signing of royal commands and the annual expenditure act, while staying on German soil.
Germany has said it would be unacceptable for the King to conduct Thai politics there and in response to concerns expressed in parliament, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had said the European power continued to look into his visits to Bavaria.
Following a meeting of the Bundestag's foreign affairs committee, the source said the government had briefed lawmakers that it believed the King was permitted to make occasional decisions, provided he did not continuously conduct political business from Germany.
"The German government has taken the view that it is not yet of the opinion the Thai king has continuously conducted business," the source said.
Asked about the status of the King, the government told the committee he had a visa that allowed him to stay in Germany for several years as a private person and also enjoyed diplomatic immunity as a head of state.
Thailand's political crisis has made the King's presence a challenge for Germany but revoking the visa of a visiting head of state could cause a major diplomatic incident, the source said.
His Majesty the King travels to Germany from time to time.
Yellow-shirts gathered outside the German embassy to show support for the monarchy on Monday and left before anti-government protesters marched to present the embassy with a petition asking German authorities to look into the matter of His Majesty the King living in Germany. (Vodei by Jetjaras Na Ranong)
Anti-government protesters, co-led by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, on Monday staged a mass rally in front of the German embassy in Bangkok.
They submitted a letter questioning His Majesty the King's legal status in the European country and asked the German government to scrutinise whether he had exercised royal authority during his time there in violation of the country's law.
The Bangkok South Criminal Court on Thursday considered a police's request for the issuance of arrest warrants against five protesters who led the rally in front of the German Embassy on Monday.
They are Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, 25, Korakot Saengyenphan, 28, Chanin Wongsri, 20, Cholathit Chote-sawat, 21, and Benja Apan, 21. The court rejected the request and advised them to summons the five people first.