BANGKOK Oct 12 About 300 people gathered at
Bangkok's Siriraj hospital on Wednesday to pray for King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, three days after the palace said he was in
an unstable condition, as the prime minister prepared for an
audience with the crown prince.
King Bhumibol, 88, the world's longest reigning monarch, is
widely revered in Thailand. During his seven decades on the
throne the king, who is also seen as a unifying force, has
intervened when events threatened to plunge Thailand into
On Sunday, the palace said the king's health was "not
stable" with doctors recommending that he suspend all royal
The palace has not issued a statement on the king's health
The king has been treated for various ailments over the past
year at Siriraj Hospital and was last seen in public on Jan. 11,
when he spent several hours visiting his palace in the capital,
A Reuters reporter at the hospital said three of the king's
four children, including Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn,
arrived at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also head of the
ruling junta, cancelled an official engagement in the eastern
province of Chonburi on Wednesday morning.
"The prime minister did not undertake his official duties in
Chonburi province today in order to prepare for an audience with
His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for a routine presentation
on the government's work in progress," the foreign ministry said
in a statement.
"The government spokesman has urged for the Thai public to
rely on official announcements for an update on situations,
rather than uncorroborated information in social media circles,"
the ministry said, without referring to the king's health.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand closed down 2.5
percent, its lowest since the end of May, after falling as much
as 6.9 percent at one point to its lowest since March 1, led by
shares in the aviation and tourism industries.
Sunday's statement was the second health bulletin this month
after the palace said on Oct. 1 that the king was recovering
after a respiratory infection.
Laws protecting the royals from insult make it a crime to
defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir to the throne
(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Aukkarapon Niyomat and
Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing
by Robert Birsel)