Monastery accused of land encroachment

Monastery accused of land encroachment

The Royal Thai Police have ordered the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED) to expedite an investigation into an allegation of state land being occupied by a monastery of Wat Tha Mai in Ratchaburi province.

Pol Gen Roy Inkapairoj, the deputy national police chief, said he has ordered Pol Maj Gen Mana Kleebsatbut, the NED commander, to undertake this mission.

This comes after activist Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, submitted a petition asking the Treasury Department to look into whether the Chayanto Bodhidhamrangsri monastery is illegally encroaching on 70 rai of public land in tambon Suan Phung of Muang district.

The monastery, also known as the Vimokesivarai dhamma retreat centre, recently attracted media attention after it allowed Tanupat "Por" Lerttaweewit and Phaiboon "Robert" Trikanjananun to be ordained as Brahmins there last Wednesday.

This was seen as a controversial move as they have both been charged with negligence leading to the death of TV actress Pattarathida "Tangmo" Patcharaveerapong on Feb 24.

Pol Maj Gen Mana said yesterday he is working with related agencies to probe the encroachment allegation.

Prapas Kong-Ied, director-general of the Treasury Department, said an investigation showed the department has granted permission to the Royal Thai Army to use the land as a restricted area for military affairs.

According to the Office of Buddhism in Ratchaburi, the monastery initially requested the local treasury office construct a temple on the land, before changing its plan to rent out the land to establish its foundation.

The investigation is ongoing.

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