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Dealer’s tip leads to pagoda raid

Two Buddhist monks were caught with drug paraphernalia and pornographic material yesterday in a raid on Sambour Meas Pagoda in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.

The monks were defrocked following the raid, which saw police seize drug-taking paraphernalia and computers containing pornographic pictures and videos, police said.

The monks were identified as brothers Proeung Dona, 24, and Proeung Savoeun, 28. Two novice monks were also detained.

The brothers were given up by Chheang Vith, 33, who was arrested by police on Monday night allegedly on his way to deliver drugs to the pagoda. Thirteen small packets of methamphetamine were found on Vith, but no illegal substances were discovered by police in the raid.

However, Lieutenant Colonel Chim Sarann, chief of Dangkor District Police, accused the monks of involvement in the drug trade.

“They were drug users and also drug distributors in Phnom Penh,” he said, adding that police had “spent many weeks investigating”.

Brigadier General Pen Rath, deputy chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Police, slammed the monks for their behaviour.

“These two Buddhist monks were … people who would be obeyed by Buddhists in Cambodia, but they are drug users,” he said, noting that the arrests would reflect poorly on other monks as well.

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