Thais queue to pay respects to late king

Almost 12 million people, or almost one sixth of Thailand’s population, have visited the glittering Grand Palace in Bangkok to pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej since he died last October, the palace said yesterday.

Thousands lined the streets of Bangkok’s historic area near the Chao Phraya River to enter the palace yesterday, the last day to see the late king before the royal cremation on October 26.

Queues stretched for more than 2 kilometers, officials said, with many lining up since Wednesday.

“I’ve been here since 6pm and I managed to pay respects at 7am,” Tossapon Thongmak, 33, a Bangkok resident, said. “We were rained on last night but this is a must — we must pay our respects to father.”

King Bhumibol died last October aged 88 and his body has laid in state in a gold hall at the palace.

He was widely seen as a father figure and regarded as the nation’s moral compass during decades of on-off political turbulence including several coups, bloody street protests and a region-wide 1997/98 financial crisis.

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