SARABURI: Ever wonder why clergy refer to non-clerics as “laypersons”? Perhaps it’s because those who are not in the priesthood seem to find it easier to get laid. But 59-year-old Phra Prapat Thammarat, Abbot of Wat Rongsaeng in Nongkhae District, apparently didn’t view his position as temple head as any reason not to bring his girlfriend back to his temple quarters for a game of hide the sausage. In fact, Phra Prapat and his love interest, Malika “Maew” Srikulthon, a 25-year-old hairdresser, were both getting the best of both worlds. Malika received a new motorbike and other items bought by Phra Prapat using temple funds. For his part, Phra Prapat got what almost every man wants, and by using his temple quarters as a love shack he didn’t have to pay extra money for a short-time hotel. Unfortunately, such agreeable situations seldom last long. At about 1 am on May 21, a mob of angry villagers and volunteer police – knowing full well that the young woman was in the abbot’s quarters – surrounded his room, yelling for Phra Prapat to open the door and agree to be defrocked for his scandalous behavior. The crowd was led by none other than Phra Prapat’s own niece, 35-year-old Wandee Aekanitsri, head of Tambon Nongplamaw’s Village 2. When police arrived to investigate the situation, they found the lights extinguished and the room silent. Surrounded and with no way to escape, the abbot and his girlfriend played possum. After the police identified themselves, however, Phra Prapat had no choice but to open the door. When he did, police, reporters and angry villagers surged into the room. One reporter noticed the monk kick a pair of women’s shoes under the bed. But it was in vain, because the villagers soon found Maew behind a bookcase, shaking with fear and clad only in her underwear. After dressing, the pair were taken to Wat Bua Loy, also in Nongkhae District, to see the Chief District Monk. Under questioning, Maew admitted to what everyone else already knew, but Phra Prapat, clearly a man of great faith, continued to proclaim his innocence and steadfastly refused to leave the monkhood. It wasn’t until Saraburi’s chief administrative monk was sent out to Wat Bua Loy to join in the investigation that the villagers handed over a CD-ROM containing graphic photographs, clandestinely snapped, of the monk and the hairdresser making the Beast with Two Backs. After viewing just a few of the images on the temple computer, the investigator could not bear to see any more and ordered the machine turned off. Only after this did Phra Prapat admit his mistake and consent to being defrocked. As he left the temple side-by-side with Maew, a large crowd of villagers rejoiced with cries of Chaiyo! Chaiyo! K. Wandee later told a reporter that she had pushed for the defrocking of her uncle because he had spent so much temple money on the young woman that he had left the wat thousands of baht in debt.
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