NOB moves against criminal monks
THE National Office of Buddhism (NOB) has launched a 24-hour hotline in Thailand for the public to report unacceptable behaviour by delinquent Buddhist monks, according to this report.
The move follows an epidemic of high-profile cases ranging from monks taking drugs and drinking to a case in May of five defrocked abbots charged with sexually abusing boys.
Thai police said that eight boys at monasteries around the northern city of Chiang Mai had been the victims of a paedophile ring.
The abuse was discovered after police rescued one boy from the abuse ring last year. All the boys involved were under 15 years of age.
Major General Prachuab Wongsuk said:
Four of the abbots volunteered to disrobe, but one denied the charges and was forcibly defrocked.
He added that police found alcohol and pornography during a search of living quarters at five monasteries.
Police believe the abbots were acting together and Prachuab predicted that more monks would be arrested soon.
Those charged face a maximum of 20 years in jail if convicted.
NOB said the idea for a hotline had emerged after Thailand’s coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed concern about the image of Buddhism, which is followed by an estimated 95 percent of Thailand’s 67 million population.
The office’s Napparat Benjawattananant said this week:
We have already set up a hotline to receive complaints from people if they see anything that endangers our religion.
People can file a complaint if they see monks are involved in irreligious things. For example if they see fake monks collecting donations.
The office said there were about 270,000 monks across the country.
We don’t have enough staff to check every monk, so we need to mobilise the general public.
Last September, authorities seized nearly £470,000 of assets, including a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz, from a monk who was defrocked for a controversial trip in a private jet and who was also accused of fathering a child by an underage girl a decade earlier.
Thai junta spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said:.
There have been a lot of cases regarding bad behaviour related to monks, so we just want to fix this problem.
The monk pictured above is Pra Witthaya Pholyano, 40, who was arrested for doing drugs in a cemetery toilet, just behind a local temple in Khuinagkhao village, Mueng District.