Ex-monk Nen Kham sentenced to 114 years in jail

Ex-monk Nen Kham sentenced to 114 years in jail

Former monk Wirapol Sukphol, also known as Nen Kham, is brought to the Criminal Court to hear a ruling on public fraud and other charges on Thursday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Former monk Wirapol Sukphol, also known as Nen Kham, is brought to the Criminal Court to hear a ruling on public fraud and other charges on Thursday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced former monk Nen Kham to 114 years in jail for deceiving 29 people into donating to bogus Buddhism and disaster relief projects and using the money to buy a jet and luxury cars.

Wirapol Sukphol, 39, was a monk at Wat Pa Khantitham in Kanthrarom district, Si Sa Ket province. Also known as Nen Kham, he had been extradited from the United States last year and jailed since.

In July last year, public prosecutors told the court that from Feb 17, 2009, to June 27, 2013, Nen Kham had told people that in his dream deity Indra had asked him to build the world's largest Buddha image made from emerald to be housed by a grand temple, as well as a gold image of himself and more temples in Ubon Ratchathani and Suphan Buri provinces.

He then invited people to make donations including cash, gold and other assets for his projects, as well as his plan to buy boats from the US to help flood victims.

Besides, he had input false information on construction for the projects via www.luangpunenkham.com. Later 29 people filed their complaint that they were lured into believing that Nen Kham was a good monk and they donated cash and other assets worth altogether 28.65 million baht.

Nen Kham denied all charges.

The court found that Nen Kham did not implement the projects. He instead used the donated money to finance his lavish lifestyle, including buying a private jet and many expensive vehicles including Porsche and BMW cars, all of which were registered under his name.

Earlier, the Civil Court confiscated 43.49 million baht from Nen Kham as he was unable to explain the sources of his wealth.

On Thursday, the Criminal Court sentenced him to 87 years in jail for public fraud, three years for computer crime and 24 years for money-laundering. However, the court capped his serving jail term at the maximum 20 years as required under Section 91 of the Penal Code for multiple offences.

The court also ordered him to repay the 29 complainants.

Nen Kham was also tried on the charge of raping a minor. The alleged offence forced him to leave monkhood and the Criminal Court had yet to lay its ruling on the case.


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