Thai monk defrocked for driving van and enjoying beach at midnight

Photo courtesy of Pattaya News

A Buddhist monk was defrocked after being discovered by concerned residents driving a van and enjoying seaside views at Na Jomtien Beach in Sattahip yesterday, July 2.

Udom Suwankana, head of Na Jomtien Village 1, along with his assistants, inspected the beach area at 12.10am following reports of a monk in an old yellow Isuzu van. The residents questioned if the man was truly a monk and if his behaviour was appropriate.

Police found the monk, identified as Luang Ta Noo Thi Thinrat, sitting in the driver’s seat wearing orange monk attire. He could not produce a current monk certificate, only an old one issued in 1991 from Wat Jomsri in Udon Thani province.

Inside the van, police discovered alms of food scattered around, some already rotten, a pile of excrement, and several casual clothes, which he claimed belonged to his disabled son.

Luang Ta Noo Thi explained to police that he had driven from his residence in Nakhon Ratchasima province to Sattahip to take his disabled son, not present at the scene, to the beach. He argued that police officers did not question him at checkpoints as they knew him well.

The monk stated that he was ordained because he was too old to do anything else. Now that he had been defrocked, he was unsure what to do next and planned to drive back to his hometown.

Police concluded that although driving is not a serious offence for a monk, the Supreme Sangha Council has prohibited monks from driving cars. They added that Luang Ta Noo Thi’s claim of driving to enjoy the beach at night also damaged the image of Buddhist monks. Moreover, he had no clear affiliation with any temple and lacked a current monk certificate.

The monks accompanying the police decided to defrock Luang Ta Noo Thi before allowing him to drive back home.

According to local media reports, Luang Ta Noo Thi had been accused in the past of using animals, such as dogs, goats, and donkeys, to pull carts to solicit alms. This action resulted in him facing multiple charges of animal cruelty and being disrobed previously, reported Pattaya News.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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