Rajabhakti Park

Rajabhakti Park

Rajabhakti Park was built by the Royal Thai Army in honour of the past and current Kings of Thailand in 2015, but with some controversy.

From the Southern Line you should be able to see some 8 metre tall, dark bronze statues when you look inland toward the West. These are statues of notable Thai kings.

The park was named by King Rama IX as it means “the park that has been built with the people’s loyalty to the monarchs”. Indeed, the people of Thailand do seem to love their royal families past and present, and this is especially true for the Royal Thai Army – which ownes the land and built the park – having remained loyal to the monarchy throughout all of the turmult and coup d’etats of the last century.

So its amazing how much of a public relations disaster this park has been.

A month after the park’s opening in September 2015, a Colonel Boondee – second in command of the King’s Guard – jumps on a plane to Myanmar never to return. A week later, the trader who organised the construction of the bronze statues by local foundries also jumps on a plane to Hong Kong never to return. A month after this, an arrest warrant is issued for the commander of the King’s Guard – Major General Prommai – who up and vanishes. Around the same time, a senior police official commits suicide, and a prominent fortune teller is found dead of blood poisoning.

Officially, none of this has anything to do with this park because the park’s construction was declared corruption free by the Naitonal Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigation, only after it had already been declared corruption-free by the military-appointed Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, only after the Defence Ministry investigation found the same conclusion, only after the Army’s own investigation found no irregularities.

So how do you explain this? On 7 December 2015, a group of political science students in Bangkok declared that they were taking the train to the park to throw light on government graft. That very same day, the park was closed for renovations, and the students’ train carriage was somehow disconnected from the rest of the train at Hua Hin station.

An odd park indeed.

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