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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ex-abbot defrocked over theft accusation

Ex-abbot defrocked over theft accusation

Ex-abbot defrocked over theft accusation

A RECENTLY deposed abbot accused of stealing money from his pagoda has now been defrocked, religious officials confirmed Thursday.
So Yuth, 74, was defrocked Wednesday after confessing to swiping cash meant for his pagoda and burning the evidence, according to Thma Puok district’s top monk.

So Yuth “confessed and made a thumbprint to acknowledge that he stole 7,260 baht (US$217) and burned 37 envelopes to eradicate the
evidence”, district monk chief Lon Sochi said.

However, So Yuth, who said he raised the money himself through donations, called the decision unreasonable.

“I found the money myself, and I used it to build the pagoda buildings. No one helped me,” So Yuth said.

The former abbot acknowledged he used some of the donation money for travelling expenses. So Yuth burned the 37 envelopes because he had no one to help him keep track of them and thought they would be useless, he said.

So Yuth had been the chief monk at Banteay Meanchey’s Prasat Soksan Banteay Torp pagoda in Thnal Dach village for three years, until he was replaced last month.

However, the 74-year-old said he has no intention of leaving the monkhood and plans to move to neighbouring Oddar Meanchey province, where he will continue his religious career.

“I don’t want to leave the monkhood because I am so old,” he said.

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