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Former Monk Disgraced Monk Returns to Southern Thailand



Former Monk Disgraced Monk Returns to Southern Thailand

A former monk Phra Yantra Ammaro Bhikku who was expelled from the monkhood and fled overseas has returned to southern Thailand to celebrate his 70th birthday. Winai La-Ongsuwan was expelled from the monkhood in disgrace for sexual misconduct.

Clad in green robes, the former monk was seen in a video posted on Facebook of him paying respect to Buddha relics at Wat Phra Mahathat Voramahaviharn in Pak Phanang district of Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand.

The video showed the former monk attended by followers he gave them lotus flowers before getting into a van and leaving.

Winai La-Ongsuwan, formerly known as Phra Yantra, has often returned to Thailand in October to celebrate his birthday. His criminal defamation case against him expired in 2014 but he has not been home for two years, since the Covid-19 pandemic struck Thailand.

Winai La-Ongsuwan was a priest for several years before he entered the monkhood in 1974 in Nakhon Si Thammarat. A charismatic figure, he attracted a very large following.

Read: Disgraced Monks Face Criminal Charges for Wearing Monk Robes

In 1994, he faced a series of accusations, including defaming the Supreme Patriarch. He was also hit with a criminal charge under the Sangha Act, for having sex, a violation of monkhood, with his nocturnal visits being captured on video.

He had an affair with a woman follower and fathered a daughter during his nocturnal visits.

The Sangha Supreme Council found him guilty of conduct unbecoming a monk and banished him from the monkhoood.

Yantra later allegedly obtained a fake passport and fled to the United States, where he was granted asylum. Winai La-Ongsuwan continues to perform work as a monk overseas.

A former mayor of Pak Phanang municipality and his close follower of Winai La-Ongsuwan said on Thursday that the former monk arrived in his hometown on Oct 16 and left on Oct 19.

During his visit, the former Thai monk stayed at his elder sister’s house.

Winai La-Ongsuwan took part in religious activities in Kanchanaburi before visiting Pak Phanang. He is due to fly back to the United States on Oct 27.

The Bangkok Post reported that his hometown monks greeted him with a respectful wai.


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