Se­nior monk ‘used dead man’s ID’


CHI­ANG MAI: Po­lice will soon sum­mons a se­nior monk in Chi­ang Mai for ques­tion­ing over iden­tity theft af­ter he al­legedly used the ID num­ber of a man in Chaiya­phum who died more than two decades ago.

Pol Col Songkrit On­takhrai, deputy chief of Chi­ang Mai pro­vin­cial po­lice, said of­fi­cers in charge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will is­sue the sum­mons as soon as they have ev­i­dence from their coun­ter­parts in the north­east­ern prov­ince.

The scan­dal in­volv­ing Phra Ratchamuni, the abbot of Wat Suan Dok and the monas­tic chief of Muang Chi­ang Mai, erupted af­ter a com­plaint was lodged with a Dam­rongdhama cen­tre ac­cus­ing him of us­ing the ID num­ber of the long de­ceased Duangdee Wiangdin­dam.

Af­ter an in­quiry showed that Duangdee died in 1995, an of­fi­cial in Mae Ai dis­trict lodged a com­plaint with po­lice against the se­nior monk for al­legedly ap­ply­ing for an ID card us­ing false doc­u­ments.

The case has trig­gered a bar­rage of ques­tions, in­clud­ing who the se­nior monk is and if he is a Thai na­tional.

Ac­cord­ing to Pol Col Songkrit, po­lice have ques­tioned the of­fi­cial and ob­tained a doc­u­ment the monk, who was known as Nimit Yod­kham be­fore en­ter­ing the monk­hood, al­legedly sub­mit­ted when seek­ing to reg­is­ter as a dis­placed Myan­mar per­son.

He said po­lice have the ID card re­quest form sub­mit­ted by the se­nior monk as ev­i­dence.

“They’re wait­ing for ev­i­dence from Chaiya­phum and the sum­mons will be is­sued for the monk to meet in­ves­ti­ga­tors and de­fend him­self against the ac­cu­sa­tion,” he said.

He said an ar­rest war­rant will be is­sued if the monk re­peat­edly fails to re­spond to the sum­mons.

Gov­er­nor Pawin Cham­niprasart said yes­ter­day the dis­trict of­fi­cial has lodged a com­plaint with po­lice and the monk will have to meet the po­lice and an­swer the charges.

He said the In­te­rior Min­istry is aware that fal­si­fi­ca­tion of ID cards is rife in sev­eral provinces and has launched an ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The monks at the tem­ple de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter and said they could not con­tact Phra Ratchamuni who was re­port­edly last seen on Oct 5 at a med­i­ta­tion cen­tre on Doi Angkhang in Chi­ang Mai.

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