CHAIYAPHUM – A former monk wanted in connection with the death of an 18-year-old woman after he allegedly made her drink too much holy water to reverse a curse has been arrested after three months on the run, according to local police.
The former Phra Opas Srisanga, 43, was captured in Kaeng Khro district Tuesday where he returned to live with relatives. The former monk had spent the last three months in Krabi working as a crewman on fishing trawlers.
He fled to Krabi following the death of the woman (whose name was not given) in Muang district of Chaiyaphum on April 4. The former monk met the woman earlier and noticed she had a dark band on skin around her neck, which he said indicated she was the victim of a strong curse.
After his arrest, the former Phra Opas informed police he had recommended the girl drink a lot of holy water he had prepared to undo the supposed hex.
The girl obliged and guzzled down a large amount of water. She then vomited violently and apparently suffered a seizure and lost consciousness.
The former Phra Opas said the girl was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
He insisted he had no intention of killing the girl. He added he had warned everyone, including the girl, who came to him to have their curses reversed that they must let him know in advance if they were suffering from chronic diseases or allergies. It is unclear if the girl had any such condition.
The former monk also denied he had mixed the holy water with any substance. All he did was recite verses while the girl was drinking the water, he said.
The girl’s family filed a complaint with Kaeng Khro police against the monk and four other people linked to the curse-reversing ritual immediately after learning of her death. No medical report about the cause of the girl’s death was disclosed.
The next day, the family met deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul and raised their complaint with him.
Local police identified the four other people accused of roles in the girl’s death as Phra Boon Nonte, a 66-year-old monk based in Loei; Kannikar Maisang, 37; Boonlai Janla, 36; and Mongkol Yakaew, 33.
The former Phra Opas and the four have been charged with colluding to commit recklessness causing death.
The four surrendered to police on April 6. They denied the charge.
The former Phra Opas said that after the girl died, he left Chaiyaphum for Nong Bua Lam Phu in the Northeast where he had a local temple perform a ceremony to defrock him to help evade the police. Once a layman, he went to Krabi to work as a crewman aboard a fishing vessel.
He spent about three months on the fishing boat before the vessel was forced to return to shore by rough monsoon weather. He said he missed home and decided to return to Chaiyaphum to live with relatives prior to being arrested.
The former monk added that besides lifting curses, he made a name for himself by helping people quit alcohol and cigarettes by drinking his holy water.
By Makkawan Wannakul