A Buddhist temple in Thailand is now without any monks after they tested positive for narcotics and were excommunicated.
District official Boonlert Thintapthai told the outlet that four monks working at a temple in the Phetchabun province of central Thailand tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday.
He said, “The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making.”
The report noted that the practice of giving food to monks as a good action is known as merit-making in Buddhism.
Boonlert said that new monks will be sent to the temple to carry on its operations in the coming days. And the disgraced monks have been sent to drug rehabilitation, as the report added.
After allegedly carjacking two vehicles and fleeing from police, Phra Annipalo, a 34-year-old Thai monk, was detained earlier this month on drug-related charges.
Following a massacre at a nursery in which 37 people were killed by a former police officer who had been fired for possessing methamphetamine, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha last month spoke out against drug use in the nation.
Among those killed in the shooting spree were at least 23 kids. Some of the victims were toddlers. However, the former officer committed suicide.
Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapat, according to the BBC, said, “After inspecting the crime scene, we found that the perpetrator tried to break in and he mainly used a knife to commit the crime by killing a number of small children.”
A government official said in a statement following the attack that the prime minister “ordered provincial governors to strengthen drug prevention plans to tackle problems in their areas.”
And in which includes northern Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar (UNODC), according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Thailand is a significant crossroads for methamphetamine trafficking from the Golden Triangle.
Jeremy Douglas, a UNODC regional representative, said in May, “Criminal organizations have adapted and innovated, and it is impossible for countries to address transnational crime alone.”
Adding, “In the last two years, methamphetamine seizures in Southeast Asia have increased from 140 tons to close to 170 tons, and this trend is continuing — instability in the Golden Triangle and Shan State are contributing, and Thailand and Lao PDR need support for border control.”
The agency said that 172 tons of methamphetamine tablets totaling more than one billion tablets were captured throughout East and Southeast Asia in 2021.
In a report from June, UNODC stated, “The total is seven times higher than it was 10 years ago, when just more than 143 million tablets were seized, and over thirty-five times higher than it was close to 20 years ago.”