Jet-Setting Designer Monk Arrested in the United States
BANGKOK – Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Paisit Wongmuang said on Friday that jet setting former monk Luang Pu Nen Kham, has been arrested by US authorities three years after he fled Thailand with police hot on his heels.
Disgraced ex-monk Wirapol Sukphol is wanted in Thailand by the DSI on charges of breaching the Computer Crimes Act, money laundering, child abduction and raping a girl aged below 15.
Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Paisit Wongmuang said on Friday that US authorities notified the department this morning that they had arrested the former monk.
Pol Col Paisit said we will wait for the US court to notify us what charges Wirapol Sukphol is facing in the United States.
He will most likely exercise his right to appeal our extradition request and fight the case from the United States.
Mr Wirapol, known as the jet-setting monk, gained notoriety in 2013 following the release of video footage showing him travelling aboard a private jet while still a monk.
He was carrying a Louis Vuitton bag, wore brand-name sunglasses and was found to own more than 100 luxury cars and numerous large tracts of land.
He fled Thailand that year and was reported to have taken refuge in France before moving to Los Angeles where he later claimed he intended to establish a new religious sect. A report in late May this year said he had been spotted in Hawaii but that was not confirmed.
It was not immediately known where he was arrested or where he was being held the Bangkok Post reports.
He was expelled from the monkhood in absentia after allegations of his criminal behaviour and lifestyle became public in Thailand.
Authorities had seized a total of 380 million baht from his bank accounts, but he was able to take cash and gold out of the country, reports said.
DSI deputy chief Pol Lt Col Pong-in Intarakhao said later there was a high chance Mr Wirapol would be extradited back to Thailand for trial, however for now, the matter rests with the U.S. courts.
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