Three novice monks aged between 17 and 21 years and another 21-year-old man were arrested for alleged drug possession yesterday and sent to Svay Rieng Provincial Court.
Provincial anti-drug department chief Kan Ken said the three novices – Ruom Sochea, 21; Nuon Socheat, 17; and Chea Kumpey, 17 – had been living for two years at Prey Thlork village pagoda in Kampong Ro district’s Svay Tayean commune, where they were arrested with the fourth man – Chanthorn Piset, 21.
Commune police chief Tep Born said a monk from a neighbouring monastery spied them using meth through a window and notified police.
Born reported that smoking paraphernalia was seized during the arrest. The three novices were defrocked by the provincial religious authorities before their arrest.
Another man who had allegedly broken into the same pagoda to take drugs was arrested the same day, according to Born, who said all of the suspects’ urine had been tested, and the quantity of drugs present in the man’s urine was higher than in the monks’.