An abbot in Lampang was nabbed by a group of villagers while he was sneaking back into the wat at 4:30 am after a tryst with his paramour, a local widow. The 50-strong mob confronted the 43-year-old abbot, who was described as being “a bit on the chubby side”, and his 49-year-old paramour as she was dropping him back at the temple after spending most of the night in her home. The couple were then frogmarched inside the temple to wait for local Sangha (Buddhist clerical hierarchy) officials to be called. The Chairman of the Village Community Association, Wanchai In-nak, said that he had suspected for a while that the abbot was engaged in inappropriate relations with a local woman. He added, however, that he had no hard evidence and could not bring himself to believe that such a respected figure would do something of that nature. To allay his doubts, he and a number of other villagers decided to start following the abbot to see where he was going at night. After they had caught him going in and out of the woman’s house three times, disbelief was plainly no longer an option, so they decided to lay a trap. On the night of May 10 the villagers, accompanied by a policeman, hid themselves along the route from the temple to the woman’s house and waited to see what would happen. At around 10 pm they saw a pick-up truck pull into the temple car park, stop briefly, and then pull out again. The truck then drove 500 meters down the road, straight to the house in question. The villagers stationed there reported seeing a slightly porky chap, dressed in shorts, T-shirt and a woolly hat creep into the house. Despite his clever disguise, the villagers were able to identify the night-creeper as the errant abbot. They elected to wait for the couple to come out before confronting them. It proved to be a long wait – it was not until 4:30 am that the truck reemerged from the house and headed back to the temple. When it stopped to let the abbot out, the villagers leaped out from their hiding places and surrounded the vehicle. In the morning, the temple committee beat a drum to call the villagers to come witness justice in action. They then invited the head of the local Sangha Council to come and pass judgment. The abbot confessed that he had been wrong and had behaved inappropriately for one of his rank. However, his superiors showed no mercy and defrocked him on the spot. Amid jeering from onlookers the abbot went to collect his personal belongings, including a computer and other electronics, and left. K. Wanchai and other community members then went to check that none of the temple’s collection money had gone missing. It was reported that, after collecting his things and leaving the temple, the erstwhile abbot could not be found anywhere. As for his ladyfriend, she has been too ashamed to set foot outside of her front door since the incident. Locals, especially the older generation, were left shocked and disappointed by the scandal. Jansom In-nak, 75, said that she thought it was unbelievable that the abbot could behave as badly as this and that it would cause people in the area, especially old people, to lose their faith. She added that it was especially disappointing as the abbot was still young and was a talented preacher.
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