29.1 C
Bangkok

Monk in 600,000 Baht Sexual Embezzlement Scandal Charged

Must read

A former Buddhist monk who was entangled in a sexual embezzlement scandal in southern Thailand has surrendered to police to face charges.

On Tuesday, the police arrested Pongsakorn Chankaeo, formerly known as Phra Kato, on suspicion of embezzlement.

There has been a dispute over his withdrawal of 600,000 baht from temple funds in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.

Pongsakorn is being held at the Anti-Corruption Division following the leak of an audio recording about a sexual relationship that occurred on April 30.

The 23-year-old former monk was charged with embezzling temple funds while living in the monkhood at Wat Pen Yat in Chawang district, Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Half of the 600,000 baht he withdrew from the temple bank account was given to a 37-year-old woman who threatened to expose their sexual relationship.

The remaining money he allegedly gave to another monk to convey to a local news reporter, who declined to accept it.

Complaint filed against the monk

A complaint filed by Phra Racha Worayan, the abbot of Wat Buppharam Woraviharn in Bangkok, alleging embezzlement against Mr. Pongsakorn, led to a summons to give a statement.

Mr. Pongsakorn returned the money in cash to the temple by way of an intermediary.

Investigators found out that former Wat Pen Yat abbot Luang Phor Klom, who passed away last year, had asked Phra Racha Worayan to help take care of the temple.

After Phra Racha Worayan was officially appointed as acting abbot of Wat Pen Yat, he had assigned then Phra Kato to oversee the temple.

The investigation determined that three people had been authorized to withdraw money from the temple. The participants included Phra Kato, Mr. Santi Chongrat, and another man identified only as Jun from the temple committee.

According to the investigation, several previous withdrawals were signed by Phra Kato and Mr. Santi.

In addition to the 600,000-baht cash withdrawal from the temple’s account, Phra Kato and Mr. Santi also withdrew 500,000 baht and another 100,000 baht from the account on April 25 and 27.

No intention of embezzling

A total of 500,000 baht was later transferred to Mr. Santi, who then transferred 300,000 baht to Phra Don, a monk who is close to Phra Kato.

The investigators would summon Mr. Pongsakorn, the woman he had an affair with, Mr. Santi, and Phra Don for questioning over alleged temple fund embezzlement.

After reporting to the investigators, Mr. Pongsakorn admitted to withdrawing money from the temple’s bank account, but he said he had no intention of embezzling it.

According to him, he presented evidence about money transfers and chat conservation messages to the investigation team.

He took out 500,000 baht and 100,000 baht from the temple’s bank account to pay personal expenses. The former monk added that he had proof that he made no personal use of the money he withdrew.

In accordance with regulations, he and another temple committee member had jointly signed the withdrawals of the temple’s funds.

Pongsakorn denied embezzling money from the temple. In response, he said he was unaware that borrowing money from the temple was wrong. The 600,000 Thai baht had already been returned to the temple.

Teaching Buddhism online

The former monk and popular preacher thanked the people who understood his situation and apologized to the public and his followers for his actions.

He apologized to his followers and admitted misconduct over the previous three months. He gave her 300,000 baht to end their tumultuous relationship after she repeatedly demanded money.

The leak of the audio recording led to the assertion that Phra Kato occasionally had sex with the woman in a car on the crest of the Kathoon Dam in the Phiphun district of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

He entered the monastic life in 2017 and attracted many followers with his entertaining way of teaching Buddhism online.

Police investigators have also opened an extortion case against the 37-year-old woman who allegedly demanded money for her silence.

More News

LEARN SPANISH ONLINE

learn spanish online

BUY FIFA COINS

Buy and Sell FUT Coins

Latest News