February 9, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Thai temple left empty after monks failed drug tests

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 20, 2019 shows methamphetamine pills being transported by truck from northern Thailand and on display at the police station in southern Narathiwat province following a seizure. – A Buddhist temple in central Thailand was left without monks after all its holy men failed drug tests and were removed from office, a local official said on November 29, 2022. (Photo by Madaree TOHLALA / AFP)

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) – A Buddhist temple in central Thailand was left without monks after all its holy men failed drug tests and were fired, a local official said Tuesday.

Four monks, including an abbot, at a temple in Bung Sam Phan district of Phetchabun province tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday, district official Boonlert Thintapthai told AFP.

The monks were sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, the official said.

“The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned that they cannot make merit,” he said.

Making merit means that worshipers donate food to monks as a good deed.

Boonlert said more monks will be sent to the temple to allow villagers to carry out their religious obligations.

Thailand is a key transit country for methamphetamines pouring in from Myanmar’s troubled Shan State via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Pills are sold on the street for less than 20 baht (about $0.50).

Authorities across Southeast Asia have made record seizures of meth in recent years.

© Agence France-Presse