Fellow monks say prominant colleague repeatedly attacked them in the course of a boozy weekend bender; Preah Sihanouk officials say they will investigate.
IF MONKS ARE FOUND TO DRINK WINE OR BITE PEOPLE, THEY MUST BE DEFROCKED.
APROMINENT monk who acts as an adviser to Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong could be defrocked, provincial officials said Tuesday, after he was accused by fellow monks of getting drunk and biting them.
Kiet Chan Thouch, chief monk at Wat Leu, Preah Sihanouk province’s main pagoda, is alleged to have attacked his colleagues over the weekend.
Koa Suon, a 76-year-old monk in the same temple, said Kiet Chan Thouch bit him after becoming intoxicated.
“Kiet Chan Thouch got drunk and ordered me to come out of my room, otherwise he would shoot me and lock me in the room forever,” Koa Suon said.
He said that Kiet Chan Thouch fought with four monks, two clergymen and a nun during a 48-hour bender spanning Friday and Saturday.
The incident scared Koa Suon so much, he said, that he has now left the pagoda.
“For my own safety, I must run away from the pagoda,” he said.
“All the monks in this pagoda dare not confront him because he is a powerful monk.”
A Wat Leu clergyman claimed he was also attacked.
“He took an umbrella to fight me,” Ken Pen said. “It made a lot of monks and nuns run away from the dining hall.”
Ken Pen said the alleged rowdy behaviour should be grounds for punishment.
“This monk always causes problems for monks and nuns when he gets drunk,” Ken Pen said. “He should be defrocked. It’s a bad reflection on the Buddhist religion.”
Kiet Chan Thouch refused to comment on the allegations when contacted by the Post Tuesday. He said he was angry that the accusations were published in a local newspaper.
“I don’t want to speak with journalists,” he said.
The provincial chief of the Department of Cults and Religion, Kang Dinath, said the alleged victims had yet to file official complaints.
“We will investigate,” he added. “If the rumours are true, he could be defrocked because monks are not allowed to drink wine.”
The provincial chief monk, Muo Rorn, said it was the first he had heard of the alleged attacks. “If it really happened, it’s our duty to send the case to Phnom Penh,” he said.
Non Nget, vice supreme patriarch of the Mohanikay order, confirmed that monks are prohibited from drinking alcohol – and, indeed, biting people.
“If monks are found to drink wine or bite people, they must be defrocked because they are breaking Buddhist rules,” Non Nget said, emphasising that the allegations are still unproven.
“It might be that other people are jealous of him and want to accuse him,” Non Nget said.