Police in Veun Sai district, Ratanakkiri province, are to send a former monk to the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court on Friday after he was arrested for stealing a 36-kilogram Buddha statue at Veun Sai pagoda.
Ty Nuthorng, Veun Sai district police chief, said his team has concluded questioning and has completed building the case ready for court“This former monk has committed the crime and our team has completed building the case,” he said.
Nuthorng said the accused, Long Sokhorn, 32, is a monk who has been living at a pagoda in Tbong Khmum province. His home town is located in Kandal province. The Buddha statue is made of copper and weighs 36 kilograms.
Nuthorng said that before the incident, the chief of the Buddhist monastery at Veun Sai pagoda, Leoung Thorngmi, left the province for between two to three days with his room locked. On Wednesday, upon his return, he found that the Buddha statue was missing.
Police Chief Nuthorng said that as soon as he received the complaint from the Buddhist monastery chief, he and his team immediately began investigating the case. After his team had questioned several witnesses, including members of the the pagoda committee, it was discovered that two days before the incident, the suspect had asked Thorngmi to stay at the pagoda in Veun Sai.
Nuthorng said that after questioning witnesses, he then sought out the suspect, with Sokhorn subsequently admitting that he had stolen the Buddha statue at night by going through the back window, packing the statue into his backpack. He then escaped and hid it in a bush along a river and came back to the pagoda.