The four were arrested after complaints from the public had reached Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, reported the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket).
Territorial Defense Volunteers (OrSor, or Kong Asa Raksa Dindaen), led by Akkara Suwatthikul, arrived at the store on Saturday to find a man dressed as a monk and other three people sitting in the back of a Bangkok-registered pickup truck..
The group had a Buddha image and a bag “full of money” collected from donations by passers-by, said the report.
Officers took all four to Wat Mongkol Nimit on Dibuk Rd in Phuket Town, where Phra Khru Mettaphiron, the leading monk of Mueang Phuket District, questioned the man dressed as a monk, named in the report only as “Mr Boonlong”.
Boonlong was asked to show his certificate confirming that he was registered as a monk. Officers called the temple named on the certificate and were told that “Mr Boonlong” was not a monk at that temple.
To be sure of Boonlong’s status, Phra Khru Mettaphiron asked Boonlong to pray, but he could not even start a standard prayer, even though he claimed that he had been a monk for eight years.
Only then did Boonlong confess that the certificate was fake, and that he had created it in order to ask for money as donations.
The PR Phuket report named the other three people arrested as “Mr Kriangkrai”, “Mr Jamnong” and “Ms Patcharee”, who explained that they were all from Lopburi province.
All four were taken to Phuket City Police Station and each charged for their role in the deception, the report noted.