High-profile monk's 'embezzlement' tally nears B300m
published : 8 May 2023 at 14:21
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Police have found more money and gold bullion worth about 100 million baht buried behind Phra Ajarn Khom's temple in Nakhon Ratchasima province, raising his alleged embezzlement to almost 300 million baht.
Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, said on Monday that investigators and members of the new executive of Wat Pa Dhammakiri on Sunday found about 80 million baht in cash and bullion worth about 19 million baht buried on a hill behind the temple in Pak Chong district.
To date, officials had found about 300 million baht worth of cash and valuables allegedly embezzled by former monk Phra Ajarn Khom, now known as Khom Khongkaeo, and alleged accomplices, the commissioner said.
"The offences might go back to 2020... The motive would be the huge amont of money that faithful people donated... The suspects may have wrongly believed the money came from the people's faith in them, but that is not the case at all," Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said.
Police had so far found only three suspects in the embezzlement case, but investigators were expanding their efforts. If more people were involved, they would face legal action.
All relevant authorities were helping police in the investigation. No one would be wrongfully charged.
On Monday police asked the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases to extend the detention of the three suspects for another 12 days while the probe continues.
They are Mr Khom, 39, his young sister Juthathip Phubodiwarochuphan, 35, and Wuthima Thaomor, 38-year-old former abbot of the temple.
They were arrested on charges of embezzling 180 million baht from the temple. Mr Khom achieved fame for his meditation technique, and had many high-profile followers. He denied the charges.