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Abusive Kanchanaburi temple rehab centre ordered to close.



PHOTO: A Kanchanaburi rehab temple exposed for abuse has been ordered to close. (via video screencap)

Following explosive reports of abuse, extortion, and squalor in a drug rehab centre in a temple in Kanchanaburi, the Department of Medical Services ordered the temple be shut down immediately. The Moo 10 village headman in Dan Makhamtia district received an urgent notice Thursday night instructing an immediate closure of the Wat Tha Phu Rat Bamrung facility.

The Narcotic Drugs Act sets criteria for healthcare facilities that the temple failed to meet, and the atrocities were revealed after the temple’s abbot died, which caused the temple’s drug rehab operating licence to automatically expire.

The abbot of the temple died 15 minutes before it was raided on Monday when a popular shaman and a lawyer took reporters to see the squalid conditions. Soldiers moved some 200 patients to the hospital for medical care after having endured beatings and torture as well as a starvation diet and extortion of their relatives.

The lawyer and shaman claim that a criminal network of police and government officials were involved in the rehab centre and asked the Crime Suppression Division to take action. When soldiers raided, they found a total of 216 men in rehab packed into one room in the temple with only 2 toilets for everyone.

The shaman called the conditions “hell on earth” and tried to file a report with local police who were indifferent, so he turned to the CSD and the press. The governor of Kanchanaburi came to the rehab temple to witness the conditions as well.

The men had been sent for drug rehab by police or family, so some were staying voluntarily, though some were there in exchange for a clean criminal record. They were charged 12,000 baht to join the program and another 2,000 baht a month for food during their 12-month treatment contract. Early release or other contract breaches brought an additional 10,000 baht fine.

The shaman commented that it was strange that police in Kalasin and Roi Et took so many suspects to this particular temple for rehab treatment, suggesting an organised crime ring akin to human trafficking.

SOURCE: The Phuket News


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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