Chak­thip seek­ing In­ter­pol as­sis­tance for ex-monk’s cus­tody


THAI AT­TEMPTS to se­cure cus­tody from Ger­many of Phra Phrommedhi, the fugi­tive for­mer as­sis­tant abbot of Wat Sam­phan­tha­wongsaram who is wanted for al­legedly laun­der­ing mil­lions of em­bez­zled state funds, should be known on Fri­day, a source at the po­lice head of­fice said.

Na­tional po­lice chief Pol Gen­eral Chak­thip Chai­jinda flew to France with his team on Sunday night in what is re­ported to be an ef­fort to seek help from the In­ter­pol head of­fice to se­cure the ex­tra­di­tion of the fugi­tive monk, now known by his lay name Phra Cham­nong Iam­intra.

Chak­thip’s pre­vi­ous trip to Frank­furt to take cus­tody of the monk was a fail­ure as Ger­many turned down the re­quest and ques­tioned “un­demo­cratic” Thai­land’s cred­i­bil­ity, the source said. If co­or­di­na­tion with In­ter­pol were fruit­ful, Chak­thip’s team would travel to Frank­furt to pick up the fugi­tive and re­turn to Thai­land on June 16 as pre­vi­ously sched­uled, the source said.

Mean­while, the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion has found more ev­i­dence of cor­rup­tion. Bangkok’s Wat Sa Ket al­legedly re­ceived Bt62.5 mil­lion from the Na­tional Of­fice of Bud­dhism (NOB) on two oc­ca­sions – Bt30 mil­lion on De­cem­ber 21, 2015 for dhamma train­ing for chil­dren and youth; and Bt32.5 mil­lion on Jan­uary 7, 2016 to prop­a­gate Bud­dhism – a po­lice source said. Un­der these projects, the tem­ple said it would al­lo­cate money to 13 tem­ple branches but the po­lice probe ini­tially found nine branch tem­ples did not get any money while four tem­ples got only Bt2 mil­lion each, the source said. The rest was wired to oth­ers’ bank ac­counts and al­legedly spent on wrong pur­poses, the source said.

Wat Sa Ket’s for­mer abbot Phra Phrom­sitti (Thongchai Sukhayano) and as­sis­tants have been in cus­tody over ac­cu­sa­tions of em­bez­zling NOB bud­gets and money laun­der­ing.

Mean­while, the pres­i­dent of the Net­work of Lawyers and Peo­ple for Pro­tec­tion of Bud­dhism, Vo­rakorn Pongth­anakul, led mem­bers to visit the five for­mer se­nior monks at the Bangkok Re­mand Prison.

Vo­rakorn told re­porters that the five ex-monks – the for­mer abbot of Wat Sam Phraya, the for­mer sec­re­tary of Bangkok chief monk, and three for­mer abbot as­sis­tants of Wat Sa Ket – had turned down his group’s of­fer of le­gal as­sis­tance as the ex-monks al­ready had their own lawyers.

Mean­while, Depart­ment of Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion chief Pol Colonel Paisit Wong­muang said the dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee prob­ing se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor Pisitchai Sawang­wat­tanakorn over his Face­book posts that raids and ar­rests would be made at four Bangkok tem­ples should con­clude their in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 30 days. Paisit said that Pisitchai had ad­mit­ted that he had based the in­for­ma­tion for the posts about po­lice’s on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion on news re­ports from me­dia and his own imag­i­na­tion.

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