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Of monks and munitions

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Of monks and munitions | Thaiger

KALASIN: Police arrested 38-year-old monk Phra Phornphanom Sommai February 26 after villagers reported seeing him shouldering a gun while sitting pillion on a motorbike speeding through Nong Hua Ling village, Kuchinarai district. When police caught up with him, they found that he was drunk, said Maj Somchai Phukongchana, Investigating Inspector at Kuchinarai District Police Station. Police then went to search the shack where Phraphornphanom was living and found two bars of TNT with a combined weight of about half a pound, a shotgun and 16 bullets for an M-16 assault rifle. Phraphornphanom said that they belonged to someone else and had been left with him for safekeeping. He refused, however, to name names or give any further details. Villagers reported that, unlike other monks, Phraphornphanom did not sleep in the temple, but instead sat around drinking liquor. He often carried “war weapons” with him, Maj Somchai said. Following the arrest, the Governor of Kalasin Province, Kawee Kittisathaphon, fearing that the monk may have been part of a plan to attack one of a number of festivals in the province, urged security forces and the general public to be on the alert and report anything suspicious.

 

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