Thai monk stole Buddha statues and antiques to fix broken car

Photo via TNews

Police arrested a Thai monk for stealing Buddha statues and antiques from three temples in the northern province of Phitsanulok. The thief claimed he committed the theft for the first time because he needed money to fix his car.

The Commander of Phitsanulok Provincial Police, Nikhom Kruenopparat, informed ThaiRath that on the evening of Tuesday, June 4, a 59 year-old monk named Boonshirt Klinyaem was apprehended at a resort in Phitsanulok. Subsequently, the Police escorted the monk to a nearby temple for a disrobing ceremony before interrogation.

During their investigation, officers confiscated stolen Buddha statues and antiques from the resort, consisting of two Buddha statue heads, five Buddha statues, and Thai traditional ceramic ware known as Sangkhalok.

Nikhom explained that Boonshirt committed the thefts on May 30. He drove his black Honda Accord sedan to the resort to change from his monk’s robe into ordinary clothes. He then went to the first temple, Wat Khuha Sawan, and stole a Phra Buddha Chinnarat statue.

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Boonshirt then moved to the second temple, Wat Tha Maprang, and stole another Phra Buddha Chinnarat statue. At the last temple, Wat Rat Burana, Boonshirt stole a Buddha statue along with Sangkhalok ceramic ware before returning to the resort.

Each temple filed a report with the police, prompting officers to review security camera footage at each location to identify the thief. They successfully arrested Boonshirt at the resort.

Boonshirt disclosed that he was a monk at Koh Mai Daeng Temple in the northern province of Sukhothai. He claimed that he needed money to fix his broken car and decided to steal the valuable statues and antiques to sell them online.

Boonshirt insisted that this was his first offence and he had not yet sold the stolen objects. However, police were not convinced because two Buddha statue heads did not belong to the three temples. Police suspect Boonshirt may have committed previous crimes.

Boonshirt was charged under Section 335 of the Criminal Law: committing theft at night. The penalty is imprisonment from one to five years and a fine from 20,000 to 100,000 baht.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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