Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Bogus Thai monks found begging in KL

The Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has been asked to watch out for Thai men who pose as Buddhist monks and solicit money from patrons of entertainment places late at night.
The embassy was asked to take action against the phoney monks by Watcharee Sunthornwut, mother of Democrat Party MP Issara Sunthornwut.
Watcharee said that during a visit to Kuala Lumpur she had personally witnessed a bogus Thai monk walking from table to table begging for money from patrons of a pub late on the night of February 11.
She said she had watched the man for about 20 minutes before asking him if he was Thai. The man replied that he came from Burma and walked away.
Suspicious, Watcharee and her group walked after the man and continued to ask him questions until he replied in Thai. The group took the man to the Thai Embassy, where he was forced to take off his monk's robe.
Watcharee said the man and two friends, who were also dressed as Thai Buddhist monks, promised to return to Thailand on their own after agreeing not to dress as monks again.
Watcharee said Malaysian police had declined to take legal action against the bogus monks, saying they had not broken any Malaysian laws.
As a result, she said, the Thai Embassy was asked to monitor entertainment areas where bogus monks might go to beg for money and thus damage the reputation of Thailand.