Monk shoots rival monk due to dispute over seniority

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A monk yesterday shot a fellow monk over a dispute regarding seniority shocking the community around Rat Samak Khee Temple in Nong Bua Lamphu province in the northeastern part of Thailand. The monk survived the shooting despite being shot five times.

Officers from Na Klang Police Station rushed to the scene and discovered the injured monk, 57 year old Weerapong Arsanarm, with five bullet wounds to his stomach and back. He was immediately sent to Na Klang Hospital for treatment.

The gunman was identified as 74 year old Wandee Phukhiaw. He shot his fellow monk, Weerapong, during a dispute over seniority at Rat Samak Khee Temple in Nong Bua Lamphu province.

Wandee didn’t try to escape and handed his .32 ASTRA gun to police when they arrived at the scene. He claimed to have obtained the gun from his older brother over 20 years ago.

Witnesses and other monks at the temple confirmed that Wandee and Weerapong frequently argued over the order of their seats during ceremonies. The argument turned violent during lunchtime when Weerapong placed his belongings next to Wandee’s seat and stared at him.

After yelling at Weerapong, the younger monk returned to his quarters, got his gun and shot Weerapong as he walked past. Wandee was subsequently charged with attempted murder and forced to leave monkhood.

He will face a punishment equivalent to half of the punishment for Section 288, which stipulates a life sentence or imprisonment for 15 to 20 years for murdering another person.

Sadly, this is not the first time a dispute over seniority has led to a brawl between monks in Thailand.

Three weeks before this incident, two monks at a temple in Surin province engaged in a similar altercation. The monk who instigated the fight was angry that the other monk sat in the front row despite being late.

Aside from seniority disputes, money can also lead to greed and corruption among Thai Buddhist monks.

Recently, former monk Khom Khonkaew, also known as Phra Ajarn Khom Abhivaro, and his accomplices were arrested and accused of embezzling money of 180 million baht from Wat Pha Dhammakiri in Nakhon Ratchasima. Khom denied the allegations, but Khon admitted to transferring some of the temple’s money to his sister and having sex with an abbot.

Upon investigation of the temple’s surroundings, authorities discovered hidden assets worth almost 300 million baht, including 19 million baht worth of gold bars and 80 million baht in cash.

These incidents highlight the importance of upholding ethical and moral standards among monks in Thailand and the need for stricter regulations to prevent corruption and violence within the Buddhist community.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.