THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Former top monk ‘on the run’ in Laos

BANGKOK: Police are seeking the extradition of former Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) member Phra Phrom Methee who reportedly fled to Laos after avoiding arrest over the temple funds embezzlement scandal.

corruptioncrimeimmigrationpolicetransportreligion
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 2 June 2018, 08:56AM


Former Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) member Phra Phrom Methee who reportedly fled to Laos after avoiding arrest over the temple funds embezzlement scandal. Photo: Bangkok Post

Former Sangha Supreme Council (SSC) member Phra Phrom Methee who reportedly fled to Laos after avoiding arrest over the temple funds embezzlement scandal. Photo: Bangkok Post

The former senior monk, 77, who was also governor of the 4th-7th ecclesiastical regions, is wanted under an arrest warrant for alleged involvement in embezzlement, malfeasance and money laundering.

National police chief Gen Chakthip Chaijinda led investigators from the Crime Suppression Division, the Metropolitan Police Bureau and the Immigration Bureau to the northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom yesterday (June 1) after learning that Phra Phrom Methee, assistant abbot of Wat Samphanthawong in Bangkok, had crossed the border there to Laos.

A police source said Phra Phrom Methee was attending an event in Phitsanulok on May 24 when police raided three temples in Bangkok and arrested five senior monks, including Sangha Supreme councillors, for alleged involvement in the embezzlement of state temple development funds.

On learning of the arrests, Phra Phrom Methee travelled to Nakhon Phanom instead of returning to Wat Samphanthawong.

He travelled in a chauffeur-driven black van owned by a well-to-do woman follower to Wat Pa Sukhontharak in Renu Nakhon district of Nakhon Phanom.

There the lady contacted a Lao woman, who was also a follower of Phra Phrom Methee, to arrange his escape across the Mekong River to Laos.

The Lao woman was in Thakhek, the capital of Khammouane province, the source said.

The source said Phra Phrom Methee has now left Khammouane for Vientiane after learning that police were stepping up their hunt for him.

Gen Chakthip was discussing the former senior monk’s extradition with Lao authorities, the source said.

According to the source, Phra Phrom Methee had expected the legal action long before the raids and had told his followers that he was not worried because he had many followers in Laos who were ready to look after him.

Phra Phrom Methee is one of seven monks who had their monastic ranks revoked by His Majesty the King in the wake of the scandal under a royal command published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday (May 30).

The scandal involves millions of baht that were siphoned from funds for temple development and Buddhist studies allocated by the National Office of Buddhism (NOB).

Some NOB officials, monks and laymen are among the suspects.

According to investigators, the officials contacted temple abbots to propose funding for projects and demanded kickbacks from them.

The abbots were expected to give them some “change” in exchange for the funding, the investigators said.

QSI International School Phuket

Phra Phrom Methee was also expelled from the SSC along with two others – the former Phra Phrom Sitthi, and the former Phra Phrom Dilok.

The former Phra Phrom Sitthi, formerly the abbot of Wat Sa Ket in Bangkok, surrendered to police on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the former Phra Phrom Dilok, the former abbot of Wat Sam Phraya in Bangkok, was arrested during last Thursday’s police raids on three Buddhist temples in Bangkok.

The pair were defrocked and are now incarcerated at Bangkok Remand Prison.

Last Thursday police also arrested activist monk Phra Buddha Isara at Wat Or Noi in Nakhon Pathom province.

He was charged with running an illegal secret society and using royal seals without permission.

The source said police were also seeking warrants for the arrest of a couple who own a shop selling religious supplies in Nonthaburi’s Bang Kruai district after an examination of the money trail found the “suspicious” transfer of about B3 million from a bank account belong to Wat Sam Phraya to the shop.

The same source said police would also seek arrest warrants for the Thai woman and the Lao national who allegedly helped Phra Phrom Methee flee to Laos.

They will likely face prosecution for aiding criminal suspects on the run, in violation of Section 189 of the Criminal Code. Violators are liable to a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to B4,000.

Krit Krasaethip, the director of Bangkok Remand Prison, said that Thongchai Sukkho, the former Phra Phrom Sitthi, was due to be moved yesterday from the prison’s reception centre to Zone 3 of the facility.

He will stay there with four former Wat Sa Ket assistant abbots who have also been detained there.

The former monk appeared to be handling the situation well despite suffering from allergies and muscle weakness, Mr Krit said.

Meanwhile, Jaroon Wannakasinanont, leader of a group calling itself the Chao Phut Phalang Phaendin Group (Group of Buddhists Who Are the Power of the Land) lodged a complaint against NOB director Col Pongporn Phramsane with the Crime Suppression Division yesterday for damaging the reputation of monks.

Read original story here.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket boat mechanic dies after getting neck caught in engine

R2,he gave his opinion already.Why should he waste his time with further speculations ? ...(Read More)


Campaign launched after dozens of dead, injured turtles wash ashore Phuket beaches

Thailand never agreed to sign fishing international convention that all trawlers must have a 'tu...(Read More)


Phuket boat mechanic dies after getting neck caught in engine

"No need to investigate further. As usual, Ben and Kurt already have the facts," as usual ...(Read More)


Medical marijuana trials to start soon

These tests are a senseless waste of time since it's all been extensively done by western countr...(Read More)


Two dead as motorbike slams power pole on Phuket’s bypass road

"...It was not reported whether the couple were wearing helmets at the time of the accident...&...(Read More)


Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

Martin... look at the photo, I also CLEARLY stated, has anyone seen the video, as PN have NOT provid...(Read More)


All nine in Phuket suspect shot dead incident charged with attempted murder

Guys, please, so far we only have the "rightous" RTP word that there were guns, and he rai...(Read More)


Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

Maybe as miraculously as "saw"became"so",the video he saw miraculously changed t...(Read More)


All nine in Phuket suspect shot dead incident charged with attempted murder

If you pull a gun on cops, you should be shot, maybe not fatally, but shot. Having several guns in t...(Read More)


Phuket boat mechanic dies after getting neck caught in engine

The Story stinks, I never saw any of this Tour boats actually sailing.They run the engines full tim...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018