Monks arrested for 'possessing crystal meth pipe and drinking'

The two monks have since been defrocked

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The Independent Online

Two monks in Cambodia were arrested and defrocked after police allegedly discovered a crystal meth pipe stashed in one monk's room, and the pair were reportedly found drinking with two women and two pagoda residents.

Like Catholic priests, Buddhist monks are expected to be celibate, and are also forbidden from drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

Police officers detained the two monks, Pich David, 36, and Chan Bunna, 19, as well as pagoda residents In Bros, 30, and Huot Chantra, 21, and two female market vendors, Mao Sokheng, 27, and Sun Sreyka, 21, for alleged drug use.

Commune police chief Khiev Sort told the Cambodia Daily newspaper that authorities had been suspicious of David for some time for not following the Buddhist doctrine.

On Thursday, police raided David's room in the Sla Kram commune, in the the popular tourist city of Siem Reap, and say they found found alcohol, condoms, and a pipe for smoking the highly addictive stimulant drug.

Only two of the suspects, Bunna and Bros, tested positive for meth. Their supplier, 29-year-old Chan Somean, was also arrested in Sla Kram commune on Saturday afternoon.

All of the suspects were sent to the provincial court, according to deputy prosecutor Samrith Sokhon. He said that both David and Chantra were charged with using violence against police officers. The two female suspects were cleared of the same charges and have been released, he added.

The court had also charged Bros and Bunna with drug use, while Somean was charged with trafficking illegal substances.

The chief monk of the pagoda confirmed that the two monks had been defrocked, adding that David’s bad behaviour had already seen him expelled from the pagoda in 2012. He was reaccepted in 2013 after he pledged to respect the Buddhist doctrine and adhere to the pagoda’s rules.

The arrest comes after fellow monks called the police over what they said were the monks’ late-night parties and general poor attitude in the past months.

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