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Monday, January 30, 2023

Thai monks fail drug tests and leave the temple empty

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BBC …… Local officials say a small Buddhist temple in Thailand has been left without any monks after they were all dismissed for failing drug tests.

An official told AFP that four monks, including the abbot, had tested positive for methamphetamine in the northern province of Phetchabun.

The monks were then sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, Bonlert Thintabai said.

The raid comes amid a nationwide campaign to combat drug trafficking.

The monks were reportedly removed from the temple after police ran urine tests on Monday, which saw all four men fail. Officials did not say what drew the police’s attention to the temple.

“The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are worried that they cannot do any merit,” Mr. Thintabai told AFP.

Merit-making is an important Buddhist practice in which devotees gain protective power through good deeds—in this case by offering food to monks.

But Mr. Thintabai said regional officials have sought the help of the head of local monasteries, who has promised to appoint some new monks to the temple in Bong Sam Van district in an effort to address the concerns of the devotees.

In recent years, methamphetamine has become a major problem in Thailand, with seizures reaching an all-time high in 2021, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-63792923

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