A Buddhist temple in central Thailand has been left without monks after all its holy men failed drug tests and were defrocked, an official said on Tuesday.
A BUDDHIST temple in central Thailand has been left without monks after all its holy men failed drug tests and were defrocked, an official said on Tuesday.
Four monks, including an abbot, at a temple in Phetchabun province’s Bung Sam Phan district tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday, district official Boonlert Thintapthai said.
The monks had been sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, the official said.
“The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making,” he said.
Merit-making involves worshippers donating food to monks as a good deed.
Boonlert said more monks would be sent to the temple to allow villagers to practise their religious obligations.
Thailand is a major transit country for methamphetamine flooding in from Myanmar’s troubled Shan state via Laos, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
On the street, pills sell for less than 20 baht (around R10).
Authorities across Southeast Asia have made record meth seizures in recent years.
In 2020, a senior Buddhist monk made world headlines after he was arrested in a central Thai province after he was found to be involved in drug trafficking.
During a search, police discovered 4.8 million methamphetamine pills in a minivan used by the monk and his accomplices.
The luggage area was packed with cardboard boxes containing the illicit narcotics and officials also found a handgun with 14 bullets, according to reports by the Union of Catholic Asian news.
The monk, who hails from the northern province of Chiang Rai, reportedly told police he had agreed to serve as a courier for drug dealers because he was paid 300,000 baht a delivery.