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‘Meth-smoking’ monks defrocked in Phnom Penh

‘Meth-smoking’ monks defrocked in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh authorities yesterday said the chief monk of a pagoda was defrocked after being accused of encouraging his disciples to drink, take drugs and fraternise with women.

Say Bunthorn, the district police chief of Phnom Sruoch, said chief monk Om Pheakdey and four novices were defrocked on Wednesday by cult and religion officials after the novices were arrested for smoking meth in the monastery.

“The novices said the chief monk persuaded them to use drugs,” Bunthorn said, adding they claimed Pheakdey often encouraged them to drink and use drugs, and sometimes called in young women to participate.

The five are now being held for further questioning.

“After the arrest of those monks, authorities found many empty beers hidden under the Buddha statue in the dining hall,” said Chhorn Vibol, an official with the cult and religion department.

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