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A 3-member team of the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) arrived in the United States Monday to escort a former notorious monk back for trial at home.
The team led by DSI director-general Pol Col Phaisit Wongmuang flew to the US after the Californian Court decided to hand over the former monk, Luang Pu Nen Kham, to Thai authorities to face charges of sexual assault of a minor, money laundering, and breaching of Computer Act.
Director-general of the OAG’s International Affairs Department Mr Amnart Chotechai said the team left yesterday and arrived today in the US. The team is ready to escort the former monk, now Mr Wirapol Sukphol, 38, back.
But the attorney said it has yet to see if the former monk would appeal to higher court or not.
However in such case the Thai attorney team is ready to oppose the appeal, he said.
He said that in addition to the criminal offences the DSI has filed against him, the OAG also petitioned the Civil Court to seize over 40-million baht assets which he and seven other accomplices owned from money laundering activities under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
The petition is now under the hearing process in the court, he said.
He said if the suspect is extradited and back at home, the DSI will first question him and ask whether he will acknowledge the charges or deny.
The case will then go to the OAG for prosecution in the Criminal Court, he said.
Nen Kham was former founder of Wat Pa Kantitham forestry monastery in Sisaket province.
He first caught attention of authorities in 2013 after a video footage emerged of him travelling aboard a private jet, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag and wearing brand-name sunglasses. He was also shown lying on a luxury Mercedes Benz car at a residence in California. He also wrote a book “Never born again in next life” which drew strong criticism that he claimed to have achieved enlightenment.