Thai monk caught in whirlpool of scandals

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o-THAI-BUDDHIST-MONKS-PRIVATE-JET-facebookRemember Thailand’s jet-setting monks? It gets worse.

Until a month ago, 33-year old Wirapol Sukphol had no limelight in Thailand, and why should he? Monks don’t strive for publicity. But fast forward to now and he is at the centre of the biggest religious scandal the predominantly Buddhist country has seen in years.

Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office discovered 41 bank accounts linked to Wirapol, with 200 million baht ($6.4 million) in constant circulation, raising suspicion of money laundering. Wirapol accumulated assets of an estimated 1 billion baht ($33 million).

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) has requested the help of the Department of Consular Affairs (DCA), which has been granted by the Criminal Court of Thailand, an arrest warrant for the now defrocked monk.

The arrest warrant implicates him on three charges: statutory rape, embezzlement and online fraud to seek donations. Wirapol is also under investigation for money laundering, drug trafficking and manslaughter for a hit-and-run accident that happened three years ago.

Despite his Buddhist vows to maintain a life of simplicity, Wirapol had a strong lust for luxury. Clad with Louis Vuitton, he first sparked controversy in a YouTube video posted in June, showing him alongside with other orange-robed monks on a private jet dubbed “Air Nirvana” by the press.

Unraveling from his orange robes of divinity, Wirapol is now a fugitive on the run, hiding in the US, and making overseas headlines about the emerging dark secrets of extreme un-monkish behavior.

 

At first, he gradually gathered a group of wealthy followers to help fun pricey projects in the name of Buddhism. Temples, hospitals, and the (self-proclaimed) world’s largest Emerald Buddha, standing at 11-meters (36-feet). The big Buddha was touted as being made of solid jade, only to found it was composed of tinted concrete.

Now we know where the money went.



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Remember Thailand's jet-setting monks? It gets worse. Until a month ago, 33-year old Wirapol Sukphol had no limelight in Thailand, and why should he? Monks don’t strive for publicity. But fast forward to now and he is at the centre of the biggest religious scandal the predominantly Buddhist country has seen in years. Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office discovered 41 bank accounts linked to Wirapol, with 200 million baht ($6.4 million) in constant circulation, raising suspicion of money laundering. Wirapol accumulated assets of an estimated 1 billion baht ($33 million). Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) has requested the help of the...

o-THAI-BUDDHIST-MONKS-PRIVATE-JET-facebookRemember Thailand’s jet-setting monks? It gets worse.

Until a month ago, 33-year old Wirapol Sukphol had no limelight in Thailand, and why should he? Monks don’t strive for publicity. But fast forward to now and he is at the centre of the biggest religious scandal the predominantly Buddhist country has seen in years.

Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office discovered 41 bank accounts linked to Wirapol, with 200 million baht ($6.4 million) in constant circulation, raising suspicion of money laundering. Wirapol accumulated assets of an estimated 1 billion baht ($33 million).

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) has requested the help of the Department of Consular Affairs (DCA), which has been granted by the Criminal Court of Thailand, an arrest warrant for the now defrocked monk.

The arrest warrant implicates him on three charges: statutory rape, embezzlement and online fraud to seek donations. Wirapol is also under investigation for money laundering, drug trafficking and manslaughter for a hit-and-run accident that happened three years ago.

Despite his Buddhist vows to maintain a life of simplicity, Wirapol had a strong lust for luxury. Clad with Louis Vuitton, he first sparked controversy in a YouTube video posted in June, showing him alongside with other orange-robed monks on a private jet dubbed “Air Nirvana” by the press.

Unraveling from his orange robes of divinity, Wirapol is now a fugitive on the run, hiding in the US, and making overseas headlines about the emerging dark secrets of extreme un-monkish behavior.

 

At first, he gradually gathered a group of wealthy followers to help fun pricey projects in the name of Buddhism. Temples, hospitals, and the (self-proclaimed) world’s largest Emerald Buddha, standing at 11-meters (36-feet). The big Buddha was touted as being made of solid jade, only to found it was composed of tinted concrete.

Now we know where the money went.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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