Ex-monk accused of illicit land purchase

Ex-monk accused of illicit land purchase

Activist and serial petitioner Srisuwan Janya said he will ask the Royal Forest Department to look into an allegation that ex-monk Sompong Nakhonthaisong spent 10 million baht buying 300 rai of Sor Por Kor land (agricultural land reform land) in violation of the law.

Mr Srisuwan, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, said the move comes after the allegation was made during a recent press briefing by Phantipha Sakunchai, aka Jae Tim TV Pool. Mr Srisuwan said he wants the department to examine whether Mr Sompong or his relatives own the land as alleged.

He said a check allegedly found the land covers about 300 rai in Ban Mor Tak Jek and Ban Non Nang Noi in tambon Huay Yang in Chaiyaphum's Khon San district. There are five to six separate plots of land, with some covering about 200 rai, 50 rai and 40 rai. He added that some plots may not be Sor Por Kor land, but they may belong to the Royal Forest Department.

Mr Srisuwan said he will also ask the Anti-Money Laundering Office to look into whether the alleged purchase of land violated anti-money laundering laws.

Sor Por Kor plots are state-owned land and are allocated by the Agricultural Land Reform Office to poor and landless farmers for agricultural use. They cannot be sold or transferred by occupants, except to their heirs, he said.

In September last year, before leaving the monkhood, Phra Maha Sompong Talaputto and Phra Maha Praiwan Worawano made headlines over their behaviour during a live-stream talk show, where the two monks joked about and poked fun at current issues, especially politics.

The talk show was popular and peaked at 200,000 viewers at one stage. However, Buddhist authorities did not find the sessions amusing and the monks appeared before a House committee to explain themselves.

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