Thai crackdown targets Buddhist monks amid accusations of embezzlement and fraud

Source: The Washington Post

Officers escort Phra Buddha Issara, 62, an activist monk, at the Thai Police Crime Suppression Division headquarters in Bangkok on May 24. (Reuters)

 Lurid tales of monks involved in sex, drugs and stolen money have crowded the newspapers here for years, to the seeming indifference of governments. But Thailand’s ruling junta has stepped up its offensive to destroy what it sees as a rot that has long been allowed to fester in the upper echelons of Buddhism and corrode the country’s moral core.

Police arrested six senior monks after raids on several temples in May. Among them were members of the Sangha Supreme Council, the governing body of Thai Buddhists, and Phra Buddha Issara, a right-wing activist monk thought to be close to the prime minister.

The monks have been defrocked and charged with offenses related to embezzlement, fraud and robbery.

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