PHUKET – The Royal Thai police have arrested 19 Cambodian monks Tuesday for illegal entry into Thailand and for soliciting donations in tourist areas of Phuket Island, the Phuket News reported.
Thai authorities arrested the monks who camped in the forest of the Chao Fa Mine beach area without permission. Local residents complained that the monks sought donations from residents and tourists. But they only ate half of the food offerings and sold the rest to food vendors.
Thai police discovered 19 mobile phones, fake passports, and monk ID’s from Cambodia, the newspaper said. Each monk had up to 10,000 Thai baht ($300) in their monk bags.
Phra Khru Meita, Phuket’s head monk, told the Phuket News that more than 100 Cambodian monks have been arrested this year for similar actions. He said the monks arrive in big groups and camp in the forest, collecting a couple thousands of baht a day.
Tourists and residents cannot tell the difference between Cambodian monks and Thai monks, Phra Khru Meita said.