"They mentioned 'the highest level' in order to force (a victim) to hand over money, which defamed the monarchy and caused damage," the judge said in a statement; the Thai term ‘the highest level” refers to the country's monarchy.
The imprisonment of Natthapol, Narong and Sitthisak Suwadee comes after their parents, Apiruj and Wanthanee Suwadee, were sentenced on similar charges last week and got two and a half years each.
At least seven relatives of the former princess have been arrested and accused of corruption and abuse of their royal connections, misusing their royal status to amass vast wealth since she divorced Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and relinquished her royal title last December.
Her uncle, a former police general, has been accused of amassing vast wealth through smuggling and gambling rackets.
In December, Prince Dipankorn departed Bangkok for Munich, where he joined a local school.
Accompanying him was Vajiralongkorn’s new royal consort, now known as Maj. Gen. Suthida Vajiralongkorn, a former Thai Airlines flight attendant, who is tipped to become the next queen.
She recently gave birth to a baby boy and presumptive new heir to the throne after Vajiralongkorn passes from the scene.
According to the Thai mass media, two years ago Prince Dipankorn was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, officially eliminating him from the succession process.
While Thailand's 87-year-old King Bhumibol remains the world's longest-serving monarch, Thailand has been wracked behind the scenes for several years with uncertainty over the succession process.
“It is a part of a preparation for a smooth royal transition by eliminating the consort, who could taint the process because of her undignified past,” the news website Asia Sentinel quotes its Thai source as saying. “The crown prince has a new wife, who has been promoted fast in the military and just gave birth to a baby boy. There seems to be a deal between the crown prince and the palace elites to eliminate Srirasmi, (also referred to as Srirasm), who has to this day been viewed with disgust because of her low-class background. Some elites even said that they would not prostrate in front of a bar girl.”
Thailand's Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has already asked the government to strip his ex-wife's family of their royal titles.