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Gangster-turned-monk arrested

Gangster-turned-monk arrested

KAMPONG Thom provincial court charged a former gangster who became a monk with causing intentional injury on Thursday, after he was defrocked for beating up a fellow monk late Monday night, court officials and police said.

Pen Sarath, chief prosecutor at the court, said that he charged Yean Youra, 18, on Thursday for angrily beating fellow monk Khea Sila, who refused to answer a phone call from the accused.

Pech Thal, deputy chief of Baray district police, said officers arrested the monk after he had attacked and injured other monks at Kdeytachin pagoda in Triel commune before being defrocked by the chief monk.

He said the perpetrator was a gangster who was wanted for causing mayhem in the village but took on a new identity at the pagoda in an attempt to escape punishment.

“To escape arrest, his parents sent him to the pagoda to become a monk,” Pech Thal said, adding that his original name – Chut Sophea – was also changed to obscure his identity.

Khea Sila, who is being treated for a broken hand, said he was attacked after he failed to pick up a call from his “colleague”, who cursed him over the phone and later attacked him.

Koeun Chan, Kdeytachin pagoda’s chief monk, said he admitted Yean Youra because his grandfather asked the commune chief and district religious office to ordain him.

“If I knew the police were looking to arrest him, I would not have ordained him because we can’t ordain someone who has a bad background,” he said.

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