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Monks to leave suspect pagoda

Monks to leave suspect pagoda

AROUND 70 monks living at Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak pagoda have been told to vacate the premises for more than two weeks to allow for investigations into a monk who allegedly recorded hundreds of videos of women showering in a public bathroom.

Koung Pheng, one of the monks, said they had agreed at a meeting on Wednesday to leave the pagoda by Saturday.

“Nuns, laymen and students will be leaving on Sunday,” he said.

Neth Kai, 35, was arrested and defrocked last Saturday after being accused of secretly recording videos of naked women at the pagoda.

He is currently in pretrial detention at Prey Sar prison after being charged on Tuesday with producing and distributing pornography.

The pagoda’s abbot, Meas Kung, has been asked to leave the pagoda permanently due to his negligence during the affair, said a monk who identified himself only as Sela.

He said a thorough search of the pagoda would be undertaken beginning on Saturday to ensure that no similar video equipment or inappropriate material is present in the monks’ quarters.

Any equipment that is found will be destroyed, and its owner will be banned from returning to the pagoda.

Monks will be allowed to apply to return to the pagoda on July 20, he said.

“I also feel very disappointed about the scandal. I feel like I did not put my full effort into managing and looking after this pagoda,” Sela said.

Lak Pech, 41, who has lived in the pagoda for 30 years, said the eviction of the monks was unnecessary.

“Although I was offended when I heard of the incident, I still have faith in Buddhism. I don’t think that it is fair to ask all the monks to leave this pagoda when there was only one person who did wrong,” he said.

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