BANGKOK — A celeb known for his fundraising efforts to help rural communities struck by natural disasters said Monday he has left his charity work to focus on protecting the Royal Family from what he described as “evil anti-monarchists.”
Actor turned philanthropist Bin Banluerit announced his departure from the Ruamkatanyu Foundation on Facebook Live, a day after he drew controversy on social media by lashing out at young people who demand reforms of the monarchy and accused them of undermining the royal institution.
“I will not let these evil people do anything to the monarchy,” he said, taking off his Ruamkatanyu uniform to reveal a yellow shirt underneath. “I will fight for the monarchy and Thais who love the King.”
Bin had been a member of the rescue foundation for 34 years. An actor by career, Bin is also known for raising donations to those in need with Ruamkatanyu. In September 2019, he raised more than 355 million baht for flood relief efforts.
“The people who raised the middle finger at the royal motorcade, I will slap them if I face them. If it was your parents’ car, what would you do if they raised the finger? I’m angry,” Bin said, visibly upset. “Three fingers is fine. But raise one finger, and you’ll get what’s coming to you.”
Bin had said earlier in a Sunday interview on Amarin TV with his twin brother Ekapan “Tide” Banleurit that he disagreed with the ongoing protests that seek to reform the monarch.
“Your 10 reforms are impossible,” Bin said. “Do not challenge the silent majority. You are challenging people who love the King, the Lord of the Land. There are tens of millions of people who are ready to come out. Do not touch him.”
Bin said touching on the monarchy was “not Thai behavior. It’s the behavior of foreigners who weren’t born here.”
He also threatened to slap demonstrators who display any rude gesture to members of the Royal Family.
“Those anti-monarchists talk about this and that and never listen to reason,” he said. “I would never hurt children or old people, but if done in front of me I will slap them and pay the fine.”
Bin was referring to the royal motorcade carrying Queen Suthida and Prince Dipangkorn, which drove through a group of protesters in front of Government House on Oct. 14.
Police shielded the public from coming into contact with the motorcade, which arrived without warning. Many in the crowd flashed the three-finger salute and heckled the vehicles, though several reportedly raised the middle finger as well.
Three activists have been charged with “assaulting Her Majesty the Queen” following the incident. They face life in prison if convicted.
“I’ve never gone to any protests, not Yellowshirts, not Redshirts. My only protest stage is for the King,” Bin said.
The philanthropist also said he “had no problem with” student protests, but unless they touched upon or mentioned the nation, religion, and monarchy.
“What, you want to take the king out and have a president? That’s crazy rambling,” he said.
Bin said he decided to quit the Ruamkatanyu Foundation since management had asked him not to come out and make any political statement.
“I can’t stand it. Why are you going to the German Embassy today?” Bin said of the march on Monday. “I think 80 percent of these children have no idea what they’re doing.”
Bin also had his own moments with the Royal Family in October 2017, when His Majesty the King Rama appointed him as a representative in a kathin ceremony at Wat Hua Lamphong in Bangkok.