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Pagoda vacated for voyeur inquiry

Pagoda vacated for voyeur inquiry

MORE than 100 nuns, students and laymen moved out of Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak pagoda yesterday to make way for officials investigating a 35-year-old monk accused of recording videos of naked women showering there.

Soy Phirum, a police official investigating the case, said 70 monks had also been cleared out of the pagoda on Saturday.

Another police official, Lim Boun, said monks and police held a meeting on Saturday morning to discuss “how to restore the pagoda’s reputation”.
Those in attendance agreed that vendors would no longer be able to sell their wares on the pagoda’s grounds, he said.

“There will no longer be vendors who sell cookies, food or dessert any more because it has made the pagoda look messy and out of order,” he said.

A monk who identified himself only as Sela said yesterday that officials were “cleaning and sweeping the surrounding areas to make it nice and clean, though without destroying any evidence” in the bathroom under investigation. The monk, nuns, students and laymen have been told that they will be allowed to apply to return to the pagoda on July 20.

Sela said yesterday that he did not know whether all of them would be welcomed back.

“We don’t know yet whether or not to welcome all the monks to live in the pagoda on July 20. It depends on the decisions made by the committee for their high consideration of a monk’s good qualifications and character,” he said.

“We don’t want to be ashamed again like we were with the defrocked monk.”

Neth Kai, 35, was arrested and defrocked on June 26 after being accused of secretly recording videos of naked women at the pagoda.

He is in pretrial detention at Prey Sar prison after being charged last week with producing and distributing pornography.

The pagoda’s abbot, Meas Kung, had been asked to leave the pagoda permanently due to his negligence during the affair, Sela said last week.

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