UPDATE: Officials raid religious cult, no illegal action found

Photo via ฤาษีคัมภีร์ คัมภีรปัญโญ 鲁士坤皮 Lersi Kumpee เพจหลัก


The new religious cult that caught the globe’s imagination for allowing followers to drink alcohol got raided yesterday. But officials from Chiang Yuen district in Mana Sarakham province in northeast Thailand found no illegal activity.

Chiang Yuen’s District’s Chief, Somporn Kuankamkong, officers from Internal Security Operations Command, Buddhism Office, and Public Health Department, yesterday visited the cult temple, Phra Maha Munee Khru Tham Gao Goat. They made a thorough investigation inside and outside the temple and spoke with the cult leader Phra Ajarn Kampee.

Somporn reported nothing illegal or strange was found but added officials would be monitoring the temple daily. The district chief also warned the cult leader to stop using alcohol in the ceremonies and avoid group gatherings to prevent a Covid-19 cluster. Somporn said the cult leader understood and agreed to follow his suggestions.

The Spokesperson of the National Buddhism Office, Sittha Moonhong, explained that he talked with the cult leader in detail. Most ceremonies were held to chase away bad luck, encourage businesses, and tell fortunes. Sittha revealed each ceremony did not subvert any Buddhism principles.

Somporn added that the cult didn’t cause any public nuisance, and no complaints by residents were made against them.

SOURCE: Khaosod | Dailynews

ORIGINAL STORY: New religious cult leader encourages followers to get drunk

Thai media visited the temple of a new religious cult in the Isaan province of Maha Sarakham to interview its leader after a viral TikTok video revealed he encouraged followers to get drunk at the cult ceremony.

A female TikTok user posted a video joining a ceremony with the cult in Maha Sarakham. The video revealed participants wearing an all-white costume with a red headband. sitting on the floor eating food and drinking alcohol. The men, dressed like priests, are seen walking around the followers encouraging them to pray and chant.

The video caption said, “Join the ceremony if you want to be rich. The ceremony will open your fate and fortune. Don’t stop drinking while you are in the ceremony. Drinking beer to get gold, drinking rice whisky to be rich. The more you are drunk, the more money you will get. #PhraAjarnKampee.”

The cult ceremony went viral on Thai social media with many netizens saying he is a fraud. Some said the followers were tricked, would lose money, and suffer from poor health due to alcohol.

Others commented on the video saying, “It’s a beer buffet place,” “I wanna go there to get drunk,” or “Is the alcohol drink included in the ceremony package?”

Yesterday, reporters visited the cult temple, Phra Maha Munee Khru Tham Gao Goat, in Chiang Yuen district in Maha Sarakham province. They witnessed followers from all over the country waiting to meet the cult leader at the front of the temple. Each follower had to make a reservation because the leader could meet only 50 visitors daily.

The cult leader, Phra Ajarn Kampee, or Rue Si Kham Phee, said the ceremony isn’t based on Buddhist principles, adding his sermons are based on the learning he’d taken from other great teachers.

The cult leader admitted the ceremony didn’t make anyone rich but encouraged people to work hard for their money.

He revealed a number of people returned to him because they were successful after joining one of his ceremonies. He emphasised that not everyone would be as successful as they wish because the ceremony was just an encouragement, followers still needed to work hard to be rich.

Phra Ajarn Kampee insisted that the ceremony didn’t encourage people to only drink alcohol. He said his followers were required to make merit and donate to temples too. He said he didn’t force anyone to believe in him and added that those people criticising him should come and see for themselves. He made it known that his followers did many things for charity.

The cult leader concluded that he had never threatened or asked anyone for money, people offered him the money according to their beliefs.

SOURCE: Khaosod | One 31

Northern Thailand News

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 petch@thethaiger.com.

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