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7 Buddhist monks in Thailand accused of embezzling donations acquired by a temple in $8.9 million scheme

Seven Buddhist monks are amongst 9 suspects who’re being held in pre-trial detention after being arrested for allegedly embezzling property value about $8.9 million  from donations acquired by a temple in Thailand’s northeast, authorities mentioned Thursday.

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases mentioned the actions of the ringleaders within the case “gravely undermined Buddhism.”

Five monks and a driver had been despatched to pre-trial detention on Thursday, in response to a press release from the court docket, positioned in Bangkok. They had been arrested on the temple, Wat Pa Thammakhiri in Nakhon Ratchasima province, on Tuesday when police staged an early morning raid and uncovered property value about $2.9 million allegedly hidden by the suspects.


Cash, jewellery and amulets had been discovered in lots of spots, together with the monks’ personal quarters, police mentioned. Some objects had been buried underground.

The first arrests within the case occurred final Friday, when police took into custody the temple abbot and a well-known monk, Kom Kongkaew, who had been accused of stealing over $5.3 million of the temple’s cash.

Nakhon Ratchasima province

Shrubs cowl hills within the Nakhon Ratchasima province of Thailand on Nov. 10, 2022. Several monks had been arrested at a temple, Wat Pa Thammakhiri in Nakhon Ratchasima province, on Tuesday for allegedly embezzling donations acquired by a temple.  (Wang Teng/Xinhua through Getty Images)

Kom, his sister, and the abbot had been denied bail Monday. The court docket mentioned that after he was taken into custody, Kom instructed the six suspects arrested this week to cover the property that had been found by police. The court docket deemed all 9 to be flight dangers who may tamper with proof.

Police mentioned the abbot, Wutthima Thaomor, instructed them that Kom suggested the monks to make use of among the stolen funds to buy jewellery.

The abbot, together with Kom and his sister, are accused of taking the donation cash by withdrawing money from the temple’s checking account and handing it over to be deposited within the sister’s checking account, during which police found $3.8 million. Another $1.5 million in money was discovered at her dwelling.

Some Buddhist temples in Thailand are extraordinarily rich as a result of their followers donate giant quantities as a approach of creating non secular advantage.

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