Monks’ wild antics: Sanctuary showdown ends in poaching arrest

Picture of monks caught hunting wildlife courtesy of The Nation

Ongoing tales of monks behaving badly continue, this time in the Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary in northeastern Thailand, as two Buddhist monks, Phra Maha Montri and novice Atikhun Maneewong, were apprehended for allegedly engaging in wildlife poaching. They were released on bail on Saturday, with their relatives acting as guarantors.

The arrest took place on Thursday, punctuating ongoing investigations into illegal hunting activities in the sanctuary. The monks were found with six animal parts, including bull horns, and firearms in their possession. Consequently, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation charged them with hunting in a protected area and possessing illegal animal remains.

In a twist to the story, police are now on the pursuit of another seven suspects who managed to escape. These monks were spotted at a poaching camp by forest officers and soldiers who were monitoring fire hotspots in the forest area that same Thursday.

Given the seriousness of the situation, Kritapas Chaiyapana, a representative from the National Office of Buddhism in Chaiyaphum, discussed with the province’s acting abbot on Saturday. The focus of the meeting was the reported involvement of Phra Sri Sajayanmuni, the provincial deputy abbot and head of Wat Huay Hin Fon, a respected temple.

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The acting abbot revealed that a memo had been sent out previously, warning against poaching in the sanctuary, which spans a whopping 1,560 square kilometres, reported Bangkok Post

Wichanon Sanpala, the head of the wildlife sanctuary, shared that the hunters currently being pursued are suspected to be part of the same group previously caught multiple times in Nong Bua Daeng district. Interestingly, he mentioned that these poachers are mostly relatives or followers of Phra Sri Sajayanmuni.

In related news, more monks behaving badly again emerged in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen after residents accused a young novice of dressing up as a woman, selling sex to other novices and monks in the temple and partying in nightclubs. The abbot of the temple has been accused of turning a blind eye to the novice’s decadent activities.

A Facebook page, E-Sor News (อีซ้อขยี้ข่าว) shared an image of the novice in question seated fastening a black bra around his chest.

Thailand News

Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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