Abbot set to face charges over statue of His Majesty
Phra Chamroon says he meant no harm
Temsak Traisopon The Bangkok Post
The abbot of Wat Tham Krabok is facing charges of building a statue of the monarch without permission, an Interior Ministry source said yesterday.
Phra Chamroon Panchan could be the first monk to be prosecuted under the Building Control Act after the Royal Bureau Household denied involvement in the construction of a statue of His Majesty the King, the source said.
Action against Phra Chamroon is on top of the agenda at today's meeting of the National Security Council which has been assigned to look into allegations of drug dealing by Hmong at the wat.
The Magsaysay award-winning monk said the statue was built with a good intention to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of His Majesty's birthday.
He said the project was initiated by Phra Charoen, his brother, but since he was abbot he had to take responsibility for any error.
He said he had sent a letter to the Royal Household Bureau asking for a royal pardon for building the statue without permission.
The allegations of drug and war weapon trafficking among Hmong at the wat in Saraburi will be raised at the meeting to be attended by Boonsak Kamhaengrittirong, the NSC secretary-general, and Damri Watanasingh, a deputy interior permanent secretary for security affairs.
Phra Chamroon has pledged to cooperate with police investigating the allegations but said he would only talk to high-ranking officers.
Governor Prayoon Prompan of Saraburi said there is no drug production at the wat but it was a main distribution centre. Legal action against the abbot or the wat must be ordered by higher authorities, he said.
Chanasak Yuwaboon, permanent secretary for interior, said the NSC was fully in charge of drug and illegal immigration problems at the wat.
Mr Prayoon and Pol Maj-Gen Chainarong Vatcharanond, the provincial police chief, briefed Mr Chanasak on the issue yesterday.
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