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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monk defrocked on controversial charge

Monk defrocked on controversial charge

A buddist monk who avoided arrest and defrocking in October when some 500 villagers rallied to his side, was taken into custody and defrocked yesterday over the alleged theft of $200 from his pagoda, Battambang police said.

Battambang Provincial Police deputy chief Cheth Vanny said that Kroeung Vary, 26, was the first-deputy chief of Wat Bay Tamram pagoda in Banon district, but had been accused of stealing $200 from the pagoda’s chief earlier this year.

“Kroeung Vary was defrocked and fired from his monkhood because he stole money from his Buddhist chief in the pagoda,” Cheth Vanny told the Post.

“He is now being detained at the provincial police station for further investigation.”

Cheth Vanny added that three other associates of Kroeung Vary were also detained yesterday because they tried to intervene and prevent police forces from defrocking and arresting their friend.

In October, about 500 villagers from two communes in Banan district blocked an attempted police defrocking of Kroeung Vary when he was initially accused of stealing money from the pagoda box.

Kroeung Vary could not be contacted by the Post yesterday for comment, but denied the allegations in October, telling the Post: “I have never kept that money for myself.”

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