About 1,000 local Buddhists representing nine villages in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district have submitted a petition to municipal and national religious authorities, calling for the ouster of a pagoda chief and the defrocking of his younger brother, who allegedly assaulted another monk, pagoda officials said.
According to the venerable Thong Samnang, deputy chief of Kork Khsach pagoda in Phleung Chheh Rotesh commune, on October 17, angry that an order of his had been disregarded, monk Choeng Engthi hurled a full can of soda at fellow monk Cheang Vannara, striking him in the head.
He then proceeded to beat the fallen monk before ultimately fleeing with his brother, pagoda chief Choeng Engsour.
“When the conflict was occurring, the venerable Choeng Engsour, as the chief of pagoda, did not intervene... Instead, he ordered his brother to beat the victim badly,” he said on Saturday.
“After beating and causing the victim to be seriously wounded, [Engsour] drove his luxury car up, and helped his younger brother escape from the pagoda,” he added.
Engsour declined to comment, and Engthi could not be reached. Vannara, for his part, maintained that he has received no money from Engsour for his treatment, and that Engthi has yet to be arrested.
“According to the doctor, my skull now has been broken and it will not recover,” he said, adding that he is echoing villagers’ demands that the pair be removed, and he is asking for $3,000 in compensation.
Svay Nem, 77, a layman at the pagoda, said that the timing of the incident derailed any memorial ceremony for the late King Father, causing widespread resentment in the community, and accused Engsour of keeping for himself money donated to the pagoda.
E Srun, chief of Phleung Chheh Rotesh commune, said that Engthi had already been charged by the court, and would be arrested if a Municipal Department of Cults and Religion committee, which is meeting today, decides to defrock him.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]