A new law giving Thailand's king direct control over royal assets worth billions of dollars went into force, the latest move by an increasingly assertive monarch to consolidate his power. King Maha Vajiralongkorn inherited one of the world's great fortunes when he ascended the throne in October following the death of his father Bhumibol Adulyadej who ruled for seven decades. Thailand's monarchy is shielded from both criticism and scrutiny by a draconian lèse majesté and does not declare its wealth. But analysts say the Chakris are one of the world's wealthiest royal dynasties, with estimates varying between USD30-60 billion. Most of this wealth is controlled by the opaque Crown Property Bureau (CPB), a vast portfolio that includes massive property ownership and investments in major companies. The Royal Gazette published a new law governing the CPB that was passed by the junta's rubberstamp legislature and went into effect on July 17.