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Buddhist monk charged with embezzling B180 million

Buddhist monk charged with embezzling B180 million

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: A former monk, Phra Ajarn Khom Abhivaro, has been arrested along with two others on charges of embezzling B180 million from Wat Pha Dhammakiri, where the monk was based, in Nakhon Ratchasima.

By Bangkok Post

Sunday 7 May 2023, 09:00AM

Seized cash on show during May 6 press conference. Photo: CIB

Seized cash on show during May 6 press conference. Photo: CIB

Mr Khom, 39, who achieved fame as a meditation expert and had many high-profile followers, was arrested on a warrant issued by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, said Maj Gen Montri Thetkhan, the Crime Suppression Division commander, who is under the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), on Saturday (May 6), reports Bangkok Post.

Arrested with him were Wutthima, a former Phra Mor, 38, and Juthathip, 35 (surnames withheld). A police source said the arrests took place last week.

The same source said that Mr Khom was also found to have engaged in sexual activity. As a result, he voluntarily left the monkhood on May 1.

The CIB began its investigation after the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) said it suspected the monk of collecting some temple donations for his own use, said Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the CIB.

One donation was reportedly made through Mr Wutthima, a former abbot, who then passed the cash on to Miss Juthathip, Mr Khom’s sister.

Miss Juthathip put the sum into Mr Khom’s bank account, while other cash donations amounting to B51mn were stored in foam boxes and suitcases at her house. The money has been seized by the police.

The investigation also found another transaction of B130mn that Mr Khom had managed to carve out from a temple donation. In total, he had embezzled at least B180mn from the temple, the police source said.

The suspects face charges of embezzlement and abuse of office. Miss Juthathip was also charged with receiving stolen goods, added Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop.

Mr Khom graduated from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Wang Noi Campus, in Ayutthaya, before moving to Nakhon Ratchasima and establishing the Dhammakiri monastic residence, which was later upgraded to a temple.

He was known as a meditation expert, and many famous people came to be his followers and understudies.

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Kurt | 10 May 2023 - 09:31:54

Dek, always look for where it's better when thing need to be improved, Not for where it's worse. And Jor12/ Dek: read BP Editorial +comments, 9 May-->"Clergy reform long overdue". Striking that is written about 'Thai Buddhism', and not about just Buddhism. Reform would not be needed if it concerns just SOME bad monks , as Dek wrote..

DeKaaskopp | 09 May 2023 - 11:03:16

"Look at where it is better"  And that would be where ? And why you not live there?

Kurt | 09 May 2023 - 09:58:06

Money embezzling/abuse of religion has nothing to do with Buddhisme ( maybe with Thai Buddhists?). Wow, now read that 'we' go up from B180mn to + B300mn!  Nothing bad mouthing about it, Jor12. Hehehe.
And stick to Thailand, referring to Iran doesn't make sense. Just childish attention derailing attempt. Stop finger pointing to were it is worse. Look for were it is better.

Kurt | 09 May 2023 - 08:35:43

Reading many times, time after time, about the Thai monkhood embezzelments and abuse of office, it is quite a understatement  to use the words 'SOME MONKS'.
it are totally criminals, using the orange robe as flag to cover their activities. People should be less credulous. The comment is about this article, about monks, not about priests. Typical Dek to grip around to soften the Thai affai...

Jor12 | 09 May 2023 - 06:03:58

This is a buddhist nation Kurt. The sooner you realise it, and what that means, the better. Try moving to Iran and bad mouth them and see how long you last.

DeKaaskopp | 08 May 2023 - 21:28:39

Typical generalizing Kurt again. There are good monks and there are some bad monks. Same as there are good priests and some bad priests. No need to talk bad about all of them. Not the first time you do btw. !

JohnC | 08 May 2023 - 08:59:56

I don't know about this monk being a meditation expert but he is certainly an expert con-man. Or, many 'famous' Thais are stupid and totally gullible to being ripped off and brain-washed. You deserve to be conned. Som nom na! Stop believing wearing orange rags makes somebody a good person.

Kurt | 07 May 2023 - 09:39:00

Sized cash, and sure more what is not yet discovered shows how stupid the 'high-profile' followers are. Better spend money on the Thai poor instead of 300,000 unemployed who are dressed in a robe and keep their facial expression publically serious but out of sight enjoy life inside their 'firms/holy places'. Regular financial checks of monks money shuffling seems to be needed!


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