THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

New raid planned to nab former abbot

PATHUM THANI: Authorities are preparing to declare Wat Phra Dhammakaya a strictly controlled area in order to facilitate a new raid which will be carried out by special investigation officers, police and soldiers.

crimecorruptionlandmilitarypoliceconstructionreligionviolence
By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 15 February 2017, 08:50AM


The DSI, police and Ministry of Justice have studied photos of Wat Phra Dhammakaya from the air, and believe they they establish an army cordon to control temple disciples while conducting a surprise raid. Photos: Bangkok Post

The DSI, police and Ministry of Justice have studied photos of Wat Phra Dhammakaya from the air, and believe they they establish an army cordon to control temple disciples while conducting a surprise raid. Photos: Bangkok Post

The planned raid will aim to arrest the temple’s former abbot Phra Dhammajayo who is wanted on charges related to the multi-billion-baht Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative embezzlement scandal.

The move came after the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Justice Ministry experts and police investigators met on Monday (Feb 13) to analyse aerial images of Wat Phra Dhammakaya taken by the DSI for use as evidence with which to pursue criminal cases against the temple and the former abbot.

A source at the Justice Ministry said yesterday (Feb 14) that Gen Dechnarong Suthichanbancha, Deputy National Police Chief, has been assigned by police chief Chakthip Chaijinda to lead the new raid on the temple.

In a previous operation dealing with the temple and the ex-abbot, Deputy National Police Chief Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul was assigned as its leader. But police still failed to enter the temple to search for the ex-abbot.

A number of soldiers from the 1st Army have been assigned to cordon off the temple and prevent the temple’s disciples from entering the premises once the raid begins; while police have been assigned to force followers of Phra Dhammajayo who are said still living inside the temple to leave.

“It may be necessary to declare Wat Phra Dhammakaya a strictly controlled area for the operation, while all concerned units in the combined force have been notified to prepare to form up within 12 hours [when ordered to] and then move to the target within six hours,” he said.

It remains unknown exactly when the planned raid will be carried out.

DSI Director-General Paisit Wongmuang, meanwhile, said authorities were still in the process of assessing their readiness for the new mission to raid the temple given that it is not certain when a new search warrant needed for the raid will be sought.

Gen Srivara said that after analysis of the temple’s aerial images, it was found that the temple made up only 5% of the area’s grounds, with the remaining 95% used for the Dhammakaya Foundation.

He declined to go into further detail about the images and the progress of the investigations into the temple and its ex-abbot, saying only that the images will be used as evidence to prosecute the temple.

So far, Klong Luang Police in Pathum Thani have been pursuing a total of 175 criminal cases against Wat Phra Dhammakaya and its people, 16 of which concern alleged violations of the Forest Act, 20 with alleged violations of the Land Transport Act and another 127 with alleged violations of the building control law.

Several hundred police and DSI officials surrounded the temple in December in an apparent attempt to move in and arrest the former abbot, who was believed to be in hiding there. But officials ended their operation after only removing barriers preventing access to the temple gates.

At that time up to four search warrants were issued for the operation but they were not actually used.

This followed the DSI’s first futile attempt to arrest the monk at the temple on June 16 after disciples gathered en masse and blocked authorities from entering.

Following the aborted operation in December, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the DSI and police will have to tread carefully in handling the issue to avoid unrest.

He added that he did not give them a deadline.

“When the time is right, they will execute the arrest warrants. There is no need to rush. We can predict what they want, so we do not want to walk straight into their trap. It’s the government’s job to control the situation,” Gen Prayut said at that time.

Both Gen Prayut and his deputy, Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, later emphasised that they do not want to see violence in the handling of Phra Dhammajayo case.

Recently, the embattled monk was confronted with a new arrest warrant for forest encroachment after it was deemed Wat Dhammakaya’s Muktawan meditation area sits in a protected forest of Phang Nga’s Koh Yao district. This took the total number of arrest warrants out for him to four.

In December, the embattled ex-abbot was relieved of duty and responsibility as the head of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and he appointed the honorary abbot of the temple in his place.

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:

marcher | 15 February 2017 - 12:10:16

Talk about paper tigers. Hate to think what would happen if the army had to face real warriors. Lie down and grovel?

Discover Thainess | 15 February 2017 - 09:39:57

Blah blah blah - here is a thought: stop telling everyone what you are going to do and just do it ..... unless you don't want to of course ! :-)

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Patong Police to create LINE group with rental shops to monitor tourist bike riders

No motorcycle license from your own country will void your travel insurance and you are not insurabl...(Read More)


Patong Police to create LINE group with rental shops to monitor tourist bike riders

Hi many rental shops will check that the customer has a driving license but this is not enough. Many...(Read More)


Patong Police to create LINE group with rental shops to monitor tourist bike riders

I don't think it should be restricted just to foreigners but should include locals. There are ma...(Read More)


Patong Police to create LINE group with rental shops to monitor tourist bike riders

Does anyone have the link to join the LINE group please? I am a local resident and I would like to c...(Read More)


Patong Police to create LINE group with rental shops to monitor tourist bike riders

A good job there isn't a LINE Group to report Thai riders- the cops would never be able to deal ...(Read More)


Phuket gun-toting driver apprehended

A BB-gun or a fire arm, that doesn't matter while threatening other road users. This guy is ment...(Read More)


SilkAir boosts Phuket-Singapore flights

"SilkAir currently has six 737 MAX 8s. As of the morning of 12 March 2019, all six aircraft hav...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: A vote for everything, or a vote for nothing?

I'm reminded of that saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same"....(Read More)


Protect Andaman mass beach cleanup at Layan nets 92kg of trash

I'm sure most readers see right through this one-day-cleanup nonsense. The island is covered in ...(Read More)


Phuket gun-toting driver apprehended

He just bought the BB gun when he realized he was on camera!555...(Read More)