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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monk ousted over pagoda power play in Siem Reap

Monk ousted over pagoda power play in Siem Reap

An ambitious monk was confined in his pagoda in Siem Reap and forced to thumbprint his own exile from the monastery on Wednesday after he attempted to claim the pagoda’s chiefdom from the appointed heir.

The ousted monk, Un Samphors, attempted to overthrow new En Korsey pagoda chief monk Chan Sovann in June by rallying 100 monks and laymen to protest Sovann’s appointment one month after the death of former pagoda chief monk Pich Sorn in December.

Thoem Rithea, Slakram commune deputy police chief, said rivalry had flared between the two monks for several months, but eventually Samphors was coerced into thumbprinting a contract in support of Sovann.

“The strange thing is that Chan Sovann had been to the US for 10 years and came back in early 2016 to pronounce himself as the pagoda chief monk,” Rithea said. “It is very unjust for Un Samphors. However, this case is settled already under the mediation of the involved authorities.”

Ministry of Cult and Religion spokesman Sen Somony said the conflict had been resolved peacefully and Samphors would reside at a new pagoda.

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