Monk war

NONG KHAI: A dispute over alms collection routes turned violent when three novices from Chansamakee Temple were set upon by an armed gang of monks and novices from a rival temple. Police were notified of the “Monk War” on the morning of May 29. Arriving on the scene at the Kokmang-ngao community in Tambon Meechai, they found 17-year-old novice Vitthaya Srithep on the ground with slash marks on his forehead; his attackers had already fled the scene. Vitthaya was rushed to Nong Khai Hospital, where he was treated for his wounds and released. He could not name his attackers during police questioning the following day, but told investigators that they were monks and novices from Koh Sri Thep Temple, about one kilometer away from Chansamakee Temple along the same road. Vitthaya told police that he had been out collecting alms along his normal route when a group of some 15 to 20 monks appeared, put down their alms bowls, and charged him and two fellow novices. Some of the attacking monks were wearing brass knuckles; others were armed with iron bars. Police said that the Monk War appeared to result from competition for an alms route in the Kokmang-ngao community, which had long been served by the older Chansamakee Temple of the Theravada sect. After the Mahayana sect opened the Koh Sri Thep Temple, the resulting competition for adherents – and the alms to be derived therefrom – grew until it finally reached the breaking point. Both sects, it should be noted, hold non-violence as a principal virtue. Following the investigation Phra Monton Nidtaro, 24, Phra Boonlerd Bongpan, 28, and two novices, all of Koh Sri Thep Temple, were defrocked. They now face assault charges.

Thailand News
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