“If we find out who helped him [Phra Dhammajayo] escape the country, no matter whether they are his disciples or state officials, they will be guilty of assisting a suspect in evading justice.
“And if they are police officers, they will be subject to disciplinary and criminal action,” Maj Gen Piyapan Pingmuang, deputy police spokesman, quoted Gen Chakthip as saying yesterday.
Maj Gen Piyapan was responding to an unconfirmed report that Phra Dhammajayo was smuggled out of Thailand by a group of his disciples.
The report of the monk’s escape was disclosed by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Wednesday (Aug 2).
Citing sources, Col Paisit Wongmuang, chief of the DSI, said on Wednesday that the information has yet to be confirmed and the DSI plans to contact its counterparts in European countries to check on the report’s validity.
Col Paisit said yesterday that the DSI has sought help from the Immigration Bureau to check if there is any record of Phra Dhammajayo leaving the country.
Maj Gen Piyapan said the Royal Thai Police officials were ready to assist the DSI in its efforts to track down Phra Dhammajayo.
However, he added that the DSI has the authority to seek any foreign country’s help in arresting and deporting Phra Dhammajayo back to Thailand.
Phra Dhammajayo, the former abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, is wanted on charges of money-laundering and receiving stolen assets linked to the multi-billion-baht Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC) scandal.
The DSI has been tracking alleged attempts to siphon money from the KCUC to several suspects via 878 cheques paid between 2009 and 2013 and some dubious asset purchases.
Col Paisit added the four-party committee currently managing Wat Phra Dhammakaya after it was searched recently claimed the former abbot had not been at the temple for a long time.
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