People who helped monk flee to Germany to be charged
published : 4 Jun 2018 at 17:49
Five civilians and possibly a monk face police charges of helping the former assistant abbot of Wat Samphanthawong escape arrest for alleged temple funds embezzlement and flee to Germany.
Nakhon Phanom police chief Suwichan Yarnkittikul said on Monday investigators were compiling evidence against accomplices of former Phra Phrom Methee, whose lay name is Chamnong Iamintra. The targets were three Thais, two Lao nationals and possibly a monk at Wat Pa Suthontharak in Renu Nakhon district of Nakhon Phanom.
They were waiting for the order from national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda instructing either the Nakhon Phanom police or the Crime Suppression Division to obtain arrest warrants, Pol Maj Gen Suwichan said. The CSD is leading the temple funds embezzlement case.
The former senior monk fled his temple in Bangkok in a Toyota van to Phitsanulok and then Renu Nakhon. He crossed the Mekong River to Laos and Thakhek town in Khammouane province, then to Phnom Penh, where he took a Qatar Airways flight to Frankfurt.
German authorities detained him at the airport as a Thai arrest warrat had been issued for him and alerted Thai police on Saturday.
The vehicle used for the escape was found parked near the living quarters of a monk at Wat Pa Suthontharak.
Pol Gen Chakthip led a number of senior officers to Frankfurt on Sunday to bring back the former senior monk.
Police sources said the police chief had confirmed the identity of the detained former monk to German authorities at the airport. Thai and German authorities were working on the process to return him to Thailand. Seats had been reserved on flight TG921 of Thai Airways International from Germany to Bangkok on Tuesday, the sources said.
The flight was scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport at 6.25am on Wednesday.
CSD commander Pol Maj Gen Maitree Chimcherd on Monday refused to give more details on the arrest of the former Phra Phrom Methee. He was among seven monks from three temples accused of embezzlement of funds for temple development in separate occasions.
Officials from the National Office of Buddhism allegedly demanded kickbacks from the monks for approving funding for temple development projects. Details of their side of the alleged scandal are being kept very quiet by authorities.