Thais gather at hospital treating King Bhumibol

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BANGKOK, Oct 14 (Reuters) Hundreds of people flocked to a Bangkok hospital today to wish revered Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, a speedy recovery after he was treated for a blood clot in his leg.

The palace set out books for people to write their wishes for the King, who will be 80 in December, as Queen Sirikit went to the hospital to see her husband.

Thai television said people around the country had gone to city halls to sign the books.

King Bhumibol was treated in hospital for eight hours on Saturday and a blood clot was found in his leg, the palace said in a short statement read out on television.

He taken there after complaining of weakness in the right side of his body and tests showed a slight lessening of the flow of blood to his brain, the statement said. It gave no further details, saying only that his leg was better after treatment.

The crowd wore yellow shirts -- the colour of the King's birthday in Thailand, where each day is associated with a colour -- and carried royal flags and the picture of the King.

''I hope the King recovers quickly,'' said Wannee Klaiprapai, 58, one of the hundreds gathered around the hospital. ''He is the father of Thailand and all his children want their father to get well very soon.'' King Bhumbiol was visited by Prime Minister Surauyd Chulanont last night and today other top officials followed, including former army chief and Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, now head of the council which advises the King.

Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who led a bloodless coup last September and is now a deputy prime minister following his retirement as army chief, was another visitor.

Bespectacled and quietly spoken, King Bhumibol has been a powerful force for national unity during a long series of military coups and constitutional experiments and is genuinely revered in Thailand.

In June, the country celebrated his 60th year on the throne.

''I heard the television report last night, so I came here at eight o'clock this morning. I wish the King a good recovery,'' said 74-year-old Sia-kiang Navakarnpisut.


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