The Sultan of Brunei: The Opulent World of Hassanal Bolkiah in Pictures

Brunei has begun phasing in a version of Sharia Islamic criminal law that allows for penalties such as amputation for theft and stoning for adultery.

Citizens can now be fined or jailed by Islamic courts for offences like not performing Friday prayers, pregnancy out of wedlock and indecent behaviour. More severe punishments such as flogging, amputation of limbs and stoning for offences such as theft, adultery and sodomy will be introduced in phases over the next two years.

May 5, 2014: People protest outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, over Brunei's strict sharia law penal code. Stephen Fry, Richard Branson and Ellen DeGeneres also joined the boycott of the Sultan's hotels which include the Dorchester in LondonReuters

The ruler of the tiny oil-rich southeast Asian nation, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, called the introduction of Sharia law as a "great achievement" for Brunei.


Once the world's richest man, Bolkiah acceded to the throne in 1967, following the abdication of his father. His worth is estimated at £12 billion, he lives in an 1,800-room palace and owns one of the world's most valuable collections of high-performance supercars.

1 August 1993. Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei watches a parade marking his 47th birthday with his youngest son, Prince Abdul Marteen, and his second wife, Hajjah Mariam – a former stewardess for Royal Brunei Airlines. He divorced her in 2003, stripping her of all her royal titles. In August 2005 he married a former Malaysian TV presenter, Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, 33 years younger than him. They divorced five years laterReuters
July 15, 1996: Prince Charles talks to the Sultan of Brunei during the Sultan's 50th birthday celebrations. The lavish festivities included a concert by Michael Jackson, who was reportedly paid $17 million, in a stadium built for the occasionReuters
September 18, 1998: The Queen and Prince Philip pose with the Sultan of Brunei, his son the Crown Prince and the Sultan's two wives before a banquet in the honour of the queen's three-day state visitAFP
August 11, 2001: A woman walks past a giant rocking horse at a multi-million dollar auction of 10,000 items that once belonged to Prince Jefri, the Sultan's estranged younger brotherReuters
September 9, 2004: The Sultan walks past his newly-wed son, Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah and his bride, Princess SarahAFP
July 15, 2006: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, flanked by his first wife Queen Saleha and second wife Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, delivers a speech during his 60th birthday celebrationsReuters
May 23, 2008: The Sultan inspects weapons during his visit to the Parachute Regiment Training Centre of the Indian Army in BangaloreAFP
October 31, 2008: The Sultan of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah talks to Prince Charles as Camilla, talks to the Sultan's second wife, Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim,. His first wife Queen Saleha sits next to Charles during a royal banquet at the Nurul Iman Palace in Bandar Seri BegawanReuters
February 23, 2009: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah salutes the guard of honour during the country's 25th National Day celebrations in Bandar Seri Begawan. He was made an Honorary Admiral of the Royal Navy by the Queen in 2001Reuters
May 6, 2011: A Bruneian man kisses the hand of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as he arrives for The 18th ASEAN Summit in JakartaReuters
July 15, 2011: Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah salutes the royal guard of honour during his 65th birthday celebrations in Bandar Seri BegawanReuters
July 15, 2012: Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah walks to inspect the royal guard of honour during his 66th birthday celebrations in Bandar Seri BegawanReuters
October 22, 2013: Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announces the phased introduction of tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adulteryAFP
February 12, 2014: The Sultan looks into the heads-up display of a Republic of Singapore Air Force Lockheed F16-D Fighting Falcon at the Singapore AirshowReuters
April 30, 2014: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech to mark the implementation of Sharia Law, a controversial new penal code featuring tough Islamic criminal punishmentsAFP
May 5, 2014: Jay Leno protests outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, against the draconian punishment of women and gay people announced by the Sultan. Brunei is implementing a brand of Sharia Penal Code which calls for the stoning of people for offences including homosexual acts, adultery, sodomy and extramarital sexual relationsGetty

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