Eleven monks defrocked in Siem Reap for all-night pagoda drinking session.
ELEVEN monks in Siem Reap province have been defrocked after a gin-fuelled all-night bender that shocked local villagers, government and religious authorities said Tuesday.
Officials said the monks gathered for a gin-drinking session on Sunday night in the province’s Srah Daun Rik pagoda and continued drinking until the next morning, when a villager found the monks still in an intoxicated state.
Residents demanded that the monks be defrocked, said Banteay Srey district Deputy Governor Sou Son.
“The 11 monks were stripped of their robes Monday morning in response to the villagers’ requests,” said Sou Son.
Nine of the monks were under the age of 20, he said.
Villager Sam Sarin said he saw the pagoda’s abbot giving the visibly disheveled monks an angry tongue-lashing Monday morning.
“I noticed they were still in a drunken manner,” he said.
“Some of them seemed to be seriously sleepy. There were remnants of vomit still on their robes. They looked very disgusting.”
The Post was unable to reach the pagoda’s abbot for comment on Sunday.
However, the order to defrock the monks was immediate, said the province’s Buddhist archbishop, Pech Sokhaing, who said he issued the decree promptly after receiving a report on the case.
“It is against the disciplines of Buddhism, so defrocking the monks was the right measure,” he said.
The province’s deputy director of cults and religious affairs, Van Bunna, said he was shocked at news of monks behaving badly and breaching their codes of behaviour. Their action reflects poorly on Buddhism, he said.
“I regret to hear that Buddhist monks acted against the discipline of Buddhism like this,” he said.
The defrocked monks could not be reached for comment.
Monks have been making headlines for the wrong reasons over the last month. In September, Kiet Chan Thouch, a prominent monk from Preah Sihanouk province, was accused by subordinates of drunkenly biting them – a charge he has adamantly denied.
Last week, an abbot in Banteay Meanchey was deposed and defrocked after he was accused of stealing cash intended for his pagoda’s upkeep, and failing in his duties.