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Ex-monk arrested in Banteay Meanchey

A FORMER Buddhist monk was arrested and charged on Friday with the destruction of property and creating a public disturbance in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town, police said.

Acting Provincial Police Chief Chan Kosal said Khieu Sok Hoeun, 24, was charged after he was arrested for disturbing residents in O’Neang village. Following an appearance at Banteay Meanchey provincial court, he has been remanded in custody pending trial.

“He is crazy. He entered into villagers’ houses and destroyed their property, such as mirrors and other objects. He also disturbed villagers while walking or driving across the road in the village,” Poipet Police Chief Um Sophal said.

He added that Khieu Sok Hoeun had been a Buddhist monk for several years at the Kampong Sambo pagoda in the Kandal province’s Koh Thom district. He went on to further his studies in Thailand in 2010, returning to Cambodia on January 2.

However, police said Khieu Sok Hoeun’s rampage coincided with a decision to shed the saffron robes and return to lay society.

“When he arrived in Poipet, he contacted a 35-year-old widow by mobile phone and went to stay at her house. Because of his deep love for the woman, he decided to quit being a monk and live with her,” Um Sophal said.  

Chheng Savun, 35, a widow and mother of five children, said that she met Khieu Sok Hoeun while she was working in Thailand, and kept in touch via mobile phone after returning to Cambodia.

“I asked him to stay at my house and he quit being a monk to stay with me. But just over the period of five days after he was living with me, he entered into other villagers’ houses and destroyed material and disturbed people in the village,” she said.

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