‘Whiskey prevents Covid-19’ claims monk caught drink driving in northeast Thailand

Police caught a Buddhist monk as drunk as a skunk driving a pickup truck in Loei province, northeast Thailand, yesterday at 9.30am. The monk claims his concoction of rice whiskey and lemons prevents Covid-19.

Yesterday morning, police from Loei Provincial Police Station received a report that a drunk monk was asking people for money and “causing mayhem” around the market area in the Mueang Loei district. Police found a bronze pickup truck parked outside the market, with the name of a Buddhist temple printed on the car door.

Police found 63 year old Phra Thanakorn (surname reserved), a Buddhist monk from a temple in the Mueang Loei district, in a drunken state sitting inside the car. Upon request, the monk staggered out of the car to speak to police but was “speaking nonsense” police said. Police asked to see the monk’s ID card, but he didn’t have it.

Phra Thanakorn told police he was currently observing “Pansa” – the Buddhist rains retreat when monks are supposed to stay on temple grounds for three months – at a temple in the Na Din Dam subdistrict.

The monk said that he and two more monks left the temple in the pickup truck in the morning to seek alms at the market. He said their usual driver had been in an accident, which is why he drove the pickup truck himself. The other monks had already left.

Phra Thanakorn told police that before he got in the car, he did two shots of “40 Degrees” rice whiskey mixed with lemons because he believes it helps to prevent Covid. He admitted that he was drunk.

Police took the monk to Muang Loei Police Station and breathalysed him. Phra Thanakorn was found to be significantly intoxicated.

Phra Thanakorn broke several monastic rules including leaving the temple grounds during the rain retreat, asking for money, getting intoxicated, and drink driving.

Police informed Leoi’s Provincial Office of Buddhism, who will request Phra Thanakorn to disrobe and leave the monkhood for his misdemeanors.


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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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