Flushed out: The Buddhist monks caught playing poker
Half a dozen leaders of South Korea's largest Buddhist order have been forced to resign amid a scandal in which monks were caught on video drinking, smoking and playing poker for high stakes at a memorial event for a dead Zen master.
The head of the Jogye order, which has around 10 million followers, or about a fifth of the nation's population, made a public apology yesterday promising "self-repentance".
The scandal erupted just days before Koreans observe a national holiday to celebrate the birth of Buddha, the holiest day of the religion's calendar.
But rather than preparing for the holiday, South Korea has been glued to television screens as channels show secretly taken footage of the senior monks' high-jinks at a luxury resort in the south-west of the country.
Rather than turning their thoughts to the master who had died, around eight monks can be seen drinking, smoking and playing cards at a lakeside resort. Gambling is forbidden in South Korea except at licensed casinos and racecourses. Some of the monks involved were believed to be abbots.
Prosecutors were called in after another senior monk made a complaint. That monk, Seongho, who uses one name told Reuters: "Basically, Buddhist rules say don't steal. Look at what they did, they abused money from Buddhists for gambling."
He said that during the monks' 13 hours of gambling, the stakes were as high as 1bn won, or around £540,000.
The behaviour of the supposedly abstemious monks, who were filmed on 24 April, has led to Korean media speculation about a power split within the order. Seongho said he had obtained a thumb drive that contains a video clip from a camera hidden in the hotel. He reportedly would not say who his source was because of recent threats made against him.
In his complaint, he said he had come forward to call for an investigation because he believed the senior monks would not be punished unless the issue was made public.
Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Any terrorist seizure of the plane ‘would have required one hell of a piece of planning’
Croatia's second city to close 'worst zoo in the world' after reports of 'nightmare' conditions and 'depressed' animals
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...