Thai government issuing smart ID cards to Buddhist monks

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Thai government has begun issuing smart ID cards to over 100,000 Buddhist monks across the nation, revealed Puangpet Chunlaiad, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

These ID cards contain crucial details about each monk’s history and are linked to the country’s citizenship database managed by the Interior Ministry.

This initiative is part of the government’s efforts to enhance the traceability of monks, in response to Police Lieutenant General Sanit Mahathaworn’s concerns. As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Religious Affairs, he had flagged the increasing issue of unruly monks in parliament.

The ID cards serve a significant purpose. They disclose the monks’ backgrounds, including details of previous ordinations, the time and place of such ordinations, and potentially any misconduct they might have committed as laymen.

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Minister Puangpet elaborated that people choose to be ordained for various reasons, such as to repent for past wrongdoings or to study Buddhism more in-depth. Therefore, it’s crucial to conduct background checks on individuals before entering the monkhood to ensure they have no previous criminal histories.

Puangpet further emphasised the need to prevent those intending to misuse religion for exploitative purposes from entering the monkhood. However, she also acknowledged the sensitivity of religious matters and stated that the Sangha Council (SC) is responsible for enforcing disciplinary rules among clergy members, reported Bangkok Post.

This smart ID card initiative is currently in progress, with cards being distributed to over 280,000 Buddhist monks nationwide.

In related news, Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) officers arrested a Frenchman in Chiang Mai in January for making and selling fake identification (ID) cards of French citizens. Unfortunately, another French suspect managed to evade the arrest.

The French authorities discovered the sale of counterfeit ID cards on the dark web. These fake identities were used to commit several crimes in France, causing a loss of about 90 million euros (3.5 billion baht).

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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