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Protests Reform Monarchy, Maha Vajiralongkorn, Kardashian King of Thailand

Why Thai demonstrators call for monarchy overhaul

Thailand's King is the world's richest leader, with an estimated fortune of over $70 billion.

Thailand's King is the world's richest leader, with an estimated fortune of over $70 billion.

And for decades, Thailand 's people have displayed almost blind loyalty to their royal family, fearing they'd be locked up if they ever spoke out against the King.

But a string of strange pictures of King Vajiralongkorn sporting a crop top and fake tattoos in a German shopping mall turned the tables against the King, accused of financing his crazy ways in Germany at the expense of Thai taxpayers.

Thailand's 'Kardashian' King's bizarre life.
Thailand's 'Kardashian' King's bizarre life.
"He wants power and he wants wealth. He really doesn't want to do the duties," says Andrew MacGregor Marshall.
"He wants power and he wants wealth. He really doesn't want to do the duties," says Andrew MacGregor Marshall.

While the photographs stunned and surprised the world, they sparked mass rebellion in Thailand.

Tens of thousands of protestors took to Bangkok's streets, feeding their 'out-of-touch' Leader, and demanded reform of their once-sacred monarchy.

60 Minutes go into Thailand's 'Kardashian' King's bizarre life this Sunday, with some of his most vocal opponents claiming it's time to fight for Thailand 's democracy.

"He has this immensely expensive lifestyle ... Thai people are paying his lifestyle," says journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, 60 Minutes.

One of a series of strange pictures of King Vajiralongkorn wearing a crop top
One of a series of strange pictures of King Vajiralongkorn wearing a crop top and fake tattoos in a German shopping mall that helped turn the tide against his people

"He needs influence and money. He really doesn't want to do the tasks."

It's not King Vajiralongkorn's first racy lifestyle to hit headlines. A leaked Prince video with his third wife Srirasmi showed her topless and in a G-string to mark the birthday of her husband's favorite pet poodle, Foo Foo, in 2009.

Vajiralongkorn was Crown Prince accepted the bizarre conduct. But now, as Ruler, his lavish expense and skimpy clothes raises further eyebrows.

Nuttaa "Bow" Mahattana, one of the leading voices in the anti-King Vajiralongkorn campaign, says Thailand 's youth are risking everything to change their government.

Thailand's King is the world's richest leader, with an estimated fortune of over $70 billion.
Thailand's King is the world's richest leader, with an estimated fortune of over $70 billion.

"The younger generation is the impetus behind this," she says 60-minute reporter Tom Steinfort.

Under Thai laws that bar anyone from publicly opposing the monarchy, Nuttaa reportedly faces five sedition charges against her. She faces a possible thirty-year prison sentence.

"Everyone cares about inequality. The younger you're, the more serious you're about it," she says.

Within Thailand's 'Kardashian' King's bizarre life

The King cherished his dog so much, crowned the dog as a senior officer in Thailand's Air Force
The King cherished his dog so much, crowned the dog as a senior officer in Thailand's Air Force

King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand has named Bavaria his part-time residence for many years.

Here the King leads a life of wealth and quirkiness: wandering around German shopping malls wearing crop tops and false tattoos, renting a whole hotel to live in with his harem of lovers.

It's this racy lifestyle that King Vajiralongkorn called the demi-god who's a semi-Kardashian — and it's and eventually contributed to a Thailand revolt.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Bangkok to speak out against their dictator, accused of financing his crazy ways in Germany at the detriment of Thai taxpayers.

Thai pro-democracy demonstrators risk everything to demand change in their region, many ignoring the threat of arrest to take a stand.

So, who's Maha Vajiralongkorn?

Australia's early days

Long before the infamous reign of King Vajiralongkorn in Thailand, he was yet another cadet at Duntroon Military College in Canberra.

Gary Stone, who was appointed to be Thailand's then-Crown Prince trainer when he arrived in 1972, told 60 Minutes the two were solid friends during the four years the Prince spent in Australia.

Gary Block, then Crown Prince of Thailand's trainer when he arrived in 1972
Gary Block, then Crown Prince of Thailand's trainer when he arrived in 1972

"Vajiralongkorn, we called him Vaji, he was one of our section, part of our peloton, and he had no special attention," Stone told reporter Tom Steinfort.

"Reflecting on all these years, it was only 100 % natural at the moment. There wasn't much to it."

Will expose hidden Australian cables from the time Vajiralongkorn battled when he first came to Australia.

"Obviously, he's unsure of himself, wants someone to rely on and pursue security," noted a senior military officer.

Long before King Vajiralongkorn 's divisive rule in Thailand, he was yet another cadet at Canberra's Duntroon Military College
Long before King Vajiralongkorn 's divisive rule in Thailand, he was yet another cadet at Canberra's Duntroon Military College

Later, Australian Ambassador's cable said he thought the Crown Prince considered his future duties as King "traumatic, confusing and daunting."

Crown Prince 's lavish life

Back in Thailand, the Crown Prince, Vajiralongkorn 's lifestyle raised eyebrows.

Journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall said that for many, the way the King treated them, amassing four wives and endless mistresses, was a red flag.

"All these marital controversies," Marshall said.

Journalist MacGregor Marshall
Journalist MacGregor Marshall

"He 's regarded as a womaniser, assumed to be living with a large harem of women. Most of the harem 's women were assigned a special nickname and a military rank."

The King can be seen in a leaked video with his third wife Srirasmi, who is topless and a G-string, celebrating the birthday of her husband's favorite pet poodle, Fu Fu.

He crowned the canine as a top officer in Thailand's Air Force and was given a four-day state funeral when the pooch died.

The bizarre conduct was accepted when Crown Prince was Vajiralongkorn, however after his $40 million coronation in 2016, the new King's quirks and lavish spending raised eyebrows.

"He has this immensely luxurious lifestyle. He spends much of his time in a luxury Bavarian hotel where he leased the entire hotel for himself and his entourage," Marshall said.

"He's got three Boeing 737 aircraft ... he 's paying a massive sum of money and it's Thai taxpayers who fit all the bills."

Swap the crown for a top

When King Vajiralongkorn's pictures were revealed in a German shopping mall, sporting a crop top and fake tattoos, Thais were shocked.

"These pictures have been very surprised because they want their king to act somehow and obey Buddhist values," Marshall said.

"Once they saw him wandering around malls in Germany, fake tattoos with some of his mistresses, Thailand was very stunned."

King Vajiralongkorn and his poodle Fu Fu
King Vajiralongkorn and his poodle Fu Fu

But now, in his private plane, the King was forced to go home to Thailand as protests rise in Bangkok. Locals want reform of their once-sacred monarchy as the new generation challenges the King's hypocrisy.

"He appears to go out of his way to declare that he's Thailand 's total force, and that's what bothers Thais so much," Marshall told Steinfort.

Protests have since expanded from Bangkok to Australia, where many Thai community want change.
Protests have since expanded from Bangkok to Australia, where many Thai community want change.

"And too many protesters took to the streets to continue to resist him."

Protests have since expanded from Bangkok to Australia, where many Thai community want change.

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