Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien (15 July 1946 - ) is the current Sultan, Prime Minister and Head of Religion of Brunei, making him one of the last absolute monarchs in the world. As the monarch of Brunei, Bolkiah enforces a Sharia state, has introduced legislation that enforces death by stoning for homosexuals (although this has been changed to 10 years imprisonment), adulterers and those who insult Muhammad or publicly proclaim themselves to be non-Muslims, which contravenes UN regulations on capital punishment, and allows spousal rape as long as the victim is fourteen or over. Bolkiah's sharia state also implements flogging and forcible amputations as punishments. Under Bolkiah's reign, symbols of Christian worship or Christmas are banned from public places, and it has been reported that US citizens were prevented from leaving the country unless they converted to Islam. The Bolkiah monarchy also discourages understanding between religions through pro-Islamic propaganda and state-sponsored societal advantages given to Muslim citizens.
In 1997, model Shannon Marketic revealed that she and several other women had been hired by Bolkiah's brother Jefri Bolkiah ostensibly for promotional work, but had instead been drugged, abducted, held captive and forced to act as the sex slaves of Hassanal and Jefri Bolkiah for 32 days. Litigation relating to the case went on for 18 months until it was dismissed on the grounds of sovereign immunity. Due to this case and Bolkiah's friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, many have theorised that Bolkiah was a member of a secret child sexual abuse ring lead by Epstein, although this has not been proven.
Hassanal and Jefri Bolkiah temporarily placed Brunei in financial crisis in the early 2000s, as they used state money to fund their harems, and purchase a 150-pound yacht, a collection of 2, 500 cars and many other extravagances, ruining the economy. In response to the ensuing controversy, the Sultan scrapped his car collection and auctioned many of the cars off.