Buddhist monk's VIP treatment

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The Independent Online
BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand's royal family has ordered the military to fly the country's most popular Buddhist monk to a Bangkok hospital for treatment of his heart ailment.

Luang Phor Khoon has been in hospital in the rural town of Nakhon Ratchasima, 130 miles north-east of Bangkok, since last Thursday.

Luang Phor Khoon has gained a wide following because people believe that if he hits them on the head with a rolled-up newspaper, they have a better chance of winning the state lottery.

The monk's blessing and endorsement is sought by many Thai politicians.

Doctors said that the monk would be flown by an army helicopter to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok as soon as he was well enough to be moved.

Luang Phor Khoon was quoted in the Bangkok Post as saying that he wanted to live long enough to see the school and hospital projects that he is sponsoring completed.

"If I die now, nobody will carry on," the Post quoted the monk as saying. "So I will live."