Chiang Mai temple abbot investigated for 200 million baht mismanagement and illegal shrine construction

Picture courtesy of dhammajak

A high-profile Chiang Mai temple abbot is under investigation after allegations of mismanagement of 200 million baht (US$ 5,762,028) worth of donations and unauthorised construction of a shrine, following a recent incident in which he caused damage to multiple vehicles. The Chiang Mai Ecclesiastical Office is now examining the financial and land issues related to Phra Phutthabat Si Roi temple, a temple frequented by celebrities.

Phra Khru Phutthabotjetiyarak, or Khru Bah Phornchai Piyawanno, 56 years old, abbot of Phra Phutthabat Si Roi temple in Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai, was involved in a car accident on May 29, causing damage to four cars and two motorcycles. He compensated the vehicle owners, covering thousands of baht for repairs and new motorcycles. Following this incident, Boonyarit Nipawanich, head of the Regional 5 Administrative Registration Centre and president of the Thai District Officers Alliance, lodged a complaint with the Chiang Mai Ecclesiastical Office about the abbot’s behaviour, reported Khaosod.

Khru Bah Phornchai recently met with Chiang Mai provincial and Ecclesiastical authorities to request their resignation from his position but was asked to wait due to the ongoing investigations. The Chiang Mai Ecclesiastical Office is looking into the abbot’s handling of the 200 million baht donation that was not deposited into the temple’s account, and his alleged use of the funds for personal purposes.

In addition to the financial issues, the investigation will also cover the unauthorised construction of a shrine at the temple, as well as the temple’s intrusion into protected forest areas. Wallop Namwongphrom, Chiang Mai Cultural Council member, disclosed that before any decision could be made on Khru Bah Phornchai’s resignation request, these issues must be resolved. The ecclesiastical authorities are scheduled to investigate the temple’s assets today.

Many well-known figures regularly visit Phra Phutthabat Si Roi temple to make merit, making the investigation significant not only for the temple but the wider Chiang Mai region.

Chiang Mai NewsThailand News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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