Thai Buddhist monk arrested for selling drugs to teenagers

A Buddhist monk has been arrested for using and selling methamphetamine pills in a village in Chaiyaphum province in northeast Thailand.

The 40-year-old monk identified as Phra Suthorn, who lived in a local monastery, was selling methamphetamine pills known in Thailand as there you go, or “mad medicine”, to teenagers in the village, according to the police.

Law enforcement authorities decided to investigate the monk following several complaints from locals about his activities earlier this week.

Phra Suthorn denied the charges, but a subsequent search of her living quarters revealed a plastic package containing 36 methamphetamine pills stored under her bed.

The monk later confessed, telling investigators he was selling drugs and using drugs himself, police said.

He has since been defrocked and now faces several charges including possession of illegal narcotics with intent to sell.

I know for a fact that this is not an isolated incident. There are many more monks like this all over the country

Buddhist monks are widely revered in Thailand, but scandals involving businessmen are common, including the use and sale of narcotics by some monks.

Last November, the abbot of a Buddhist temple in Chumphon, a southern province, was arrested and charged with possession of illicit substances after he was discovered by police to have stored methamphetamine pills in his accommodation as well as paraphernalia for drug use.

Also in this case, the discovery came after complaints from locals about drug use among the monks at the temple.

Three other monks at the monastery in a rural area were also found to have taken narcotics, which is against the principles of Buddhism and prohibited for monks.

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“I know for a fact that this is not an isolated incident. There are many more monks like this all over the country,” noted a Thai commentator.

“They [police] should go to every temple and check them all. Many convicts end up in temples after their release, and many children raised in these temples end up becoming convicts. My brother-in-law is one of them.

A senior Buddhist monk was arrested in December 2020 after being found involved in drug trafficking.

The cleric, from the northern province of Chiang Rai, was apprehended after police discovered 4.8 million methamphetamine tablets in a van used by the monk and his accomplices during a search of the vehicle.

I used to think monks should be respected. I changed my mind

The illegal drugs, intended for sale, had been packed in cardboard boxes and police also found a handgun with 14 bullets.

The monk’s role in aiding drug traffickers was to sit in the van as narcotics were delivered from one area of ​​Thailand to another so that his presence in the vehicle would distract from its contents at police checkpoints.

These and other scandals involving monks have eroded respect for Buddhist clergy, at least among some residents of the country, based on comments posted online.

“Before, I thought monks should be respected. I changed my mind,” one commenter noted.

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