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Following a stream of high-profile scandals involving monks drinking, taking drugs and being charged with sexual abuse charges, the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) have set up a hotline after Thailand’s coup-making General Prayut Chan-O-Cha expressed concern over the image of Buddhism in the country where 95% of the 67 million population are Buddhist.
On Wednesday the office’s Napparat Benjawattananand told the AFP that the hotline has already been set up to receive complaints from any members of the public who see anything going on that may endanger Buddhist religion. The line will allow anybody that sees monks acting in a non-religious manner to report acts such as monks collecting fake donations for example.
There are around 270,000 monks in Thailand, a number too great for the office to provide enough staff to check every monk, so the decision has been taken to mobilize the general public.
Last September authorities seized nearly $800,000 worth of assets that included a porch and a Mercedes Benz from a monk who was defrocked after taking a controversial trip in a private jet, he was also accused of fathering the child of an underage girl.
“There have been a lot of cases regarding bad behaviour related to monks, so we just want to fix this problem,” said Thai junta spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak.