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Manslaughter is the latest allegation against Thailand’s fugitive monk, who has also been accused of promiscuity, statutory rape, money laundering, drug and alcohol abuse and living a jet set lavish lifestyle despite taking vows to lead a life of celibacy and simplicity. 33 year old Wirapol Kukphol has been firmly planted at the center of the biggest religious scandal predominantly Buddhist Thailand has ever seen.
The scandal was sparked by a YouTube video that pictured the monk counting piles of cash on a private jet. This un-monkly behavior has riveted the country and he continues to make headline news. Wirapol, whose estimated assets are one billion baht, has fled to France and been defrocked in absentia.
This week authorities have issued an arrest warrants for the disgraced monk on charges of statutory rape, embezzlement, and online fraud to seek donations. He is also under investigation for money laundering, drug trafficking and manslaughter after a hit and run accident. Authorities are scratching their heads trying to figure out how he has managed to amass such vast amounts of money.
Wirapol was born in Ubon Ratchathani and entered the monkhood in his late teens. He very soon gained a reputation after claiming he had supernatural powers like the ability to walk on water, fly and being able to communicate with the Gods. He later renamed himself Luang Pu Nen Kham, a title normally reserved for elder monks. During his monkhood he attracted wealthy followers to invest in expensive projects such as building hospitals and temples. One has to wonder how much of that funding found its way into his forty one bank accounts!
DSI Chief investigator Pong-in Intarakhoa said “Over the years there have been several cases of men who abused the robe, but never has a monk been implicated in so many crimes, We have never seen a case this widespread, where a monk has caused so much damage to so many people and to Thai society.” Investigators believe they have only scratched the surface of Wirapol’s case. During a two year shopping spree that started in 2009 the now ex-monk brought twenty two Mercedes worth ninety five million baht! The luxury cars made up part of his seventy one luxury car collection.
According to the Office of National Buddhism last year about three hundred monks were reprimanded for taking part in forbidden activities such as using alcohol and cavorting with men and women, and in some cases monks that violated their vows were disrobed.