A Battambang provincial monk recently accused of stealing money from pagoda coffers is scheduled to be defrocked early next month, officials said yesterday. In an October 16 decision, Battambang provincial chief of monks Ouk Muth ordered 26-year-old Koeun Ravy of Soryaram pagoda in Banan district’s Bay Damram commune to leave the monkhood voluntarily by November 1 or otherwise face a forced defrocking. In the decision, Ouk Muth claimed that Koeun Ravy, an assistant to Soryaram pagoda chief Khuth Thun, had stolen US$200 from a pagoda donation case in July. However, the 26-year-old denied the allegations, vowing not to comply with the decision. Koeun Ravy explained that he had opened the donation box, along with four other monks and 10 nuns, after receiving permission to buy food. “The head of the Buddhist monastery gave me the key to open [the donation box]. I will only comply with the decision if the head of the Buddhist monastery is defrocked along with me,” he said. Banan district’s deputy chief of monks They Thy supported the allegations, but Battambang provincial chief of monks Ouk Muth could not be reached for comment yesterday.