Four Cambodian monks were arrested at a temple in Muang district on Tuesday night and expelled from the monkhood after they were found to have entered the country illegally.
Pol Col Preecha Kengsarikij, the Muang police chief, said investigators went to Wat Wutharam, in Non Nong Wat community, after being informed that Cambodian monks were staying there and went out collecting alms every morning.
They met the abbot and sought permission to check the identification documents of all monks and novices at the temple.
They found four Cambodian monks among them.
They each had a proper monk’s certificate, but no entry documents for Thailand.
The Cambodians were taken to Wat Klang in Muang district, where they were expelled from the monkhood. They were then detained at Muang police station pending deporttion. All tested negative for drug use and Covid-19.
Pol Col Preecha said the four men were aged 25-40 years. They had sneaked across the border into Thailand in Kap Choeng district, Surin province, and were ordained as monks.
From Surin, they set out on a journey on foot, and stayed overnight at temples on the way to Khon Kaen.
In Khon Kaen, they stayed at Wat Wutharam where they had followed the monks’ daily routine of collecting alms and donations. They admitted having sent money they collected back home to Cambodia, Pol Col Preecha said.
Police with three of the four Cambodian monks found at Wat Wutharam in Muang district, Khon Kaen, on Tuesday night. They were detained and charged with illegal entry. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)