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The life of monk Wirapol Sukphol is starting to turn into something of a soap opera, and there is certainly enough material for a movie! The now famous monk is finding himself on the pages of Thailand’s national newspapers and one wonders if at some point he might find himself staring on Celebrity Big Brother!
The scandalous life of Wirapol Sukphol came to light on June 17 when the mainstream Thai media started taking notice of a video clip posted on YouTube showed the monk, who is the abbot of Wat Pa Khantitham in Si Sa Ket province, landing at Ubon Ratchathani international airport in a private jet, wearing expensive headphones, sun glasses and what looked like a Louis Vitton bag! The video has attracted nearly a million viewers since then and it is rumored that the monk, better known as Luang Pu Nenkham Chattigo has fled to France and has postponed his return to Thailand indefinitely.
In the weeks following the release of the YouTube video accusations have been made about money laundering, intimate relationships with women as young as fourteen, one of whom it is alleged he later fathered a child with, that he drank alcohol, took illegal drugs and watched pornographic videos and had sex with many teenage girls.
Despite the numerous complaints and allegations made about the monk, the National Office of Buddhism, the organization responsible for Sangha (a term commonly used to refer to ordained Buddhist monks) brushed it to one side saying that his actions were not a serious breach of monastic principals. However the DSI has said it will seek Phra Wirapol Sukphol’s extradition from France if he fails to report for questioning by the end of this month although France is not one of the 15 countries that Thailand has a formal extradition treaty in place with and any extradition proceedings are likely to be protracted.
A letter, claimed to have been written by Bangkok Aviation Centre founder and CEO Piya Tregalnon revealed the jet-setting monk unusual wealth and has been shared on many social net works.
The letter reportedly stated “I have been wondering for three years why the monk has such large amounts of money and assets. He is not even a very famous monk,”When he came into the spotlight, I decide to speak out as I think his wealth is suspicious.” The monk always paid in cash about 300,000 baht for each rental.
He went on to say that the monk showed an interest in buying his own private jet, at an approximate cost of 500-700 million and he said that the monk often travelled in a super luxury Maybach-brand car and boasted that he had a Mercedes-Benz S500, a BMW X6 and a Mini Cooper just for driving inside the temple compound. He also claimed to have a yacht, Wg Cdr Piya said. He went on to say that the monk also showed bundles of US$100 (3,129 baht) banknotes fully packed in his kitbag and claimed he also had gold bars inside and he showed off two cheque books of US banks with his name printed on every cheque.
Wg Cdr Piya said he distanced himself from Luang Pu Nen Kham after the monk asked him to buy a private jet in the US. The monk also used to ask the pilot to carry his kitbag when he passed immigration checkpoints.
A complaint has now been lodged with the Department of Special Investigations by a girl who claims that the monk had sex with her when she was a minor and fathered her son. The woman denied allegations that she actually has sexual relations with the monks brother. Her 84 year old grandmother said Mr Wirapol often picked her granddaughter up at around 6pm to return her home at 4am. She said she allowed the monk to spend time with her daughter as she believed he would take care of her, but he failed to give the financial support he promised after the girl became pregnant. DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said the witnesses’ accounts matched the evidence. He also said the DSI found 16 more vehicles belonging to Mr Wirapol that were involved in tax evasion.