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Return of disliked monk prompts pagoda protest

Buddhists protested in front of a pagoda in Kampong Speu yesterday. PHOTO SUPPLIED
Buddhists protested in front of a pagoda in Kampong Speu yesterday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Return of disliked monk prompts pagoda protest

More than 200 Buddhists protested in front of Ou Saray pagoda in Kampong Thom’s Stoung district yesterday to oppose the reappointment of a chief monk who was fired five years ago amid complaints of scandalous behaviour.

According to provincial head monk Lay Mot Deang, 53-year-old Eang Ngek was ousted from the pagoda – where he had served as chief monk since 1995 – in 2011 after being embroiled in incidents including “womanising and having a bad attitude with believers” that made him gravely unpopular among local worshippers.

Sderng Yung, a Buddhist who was part of the four-hour protest, called Ngek “unfit” for the position. “We do not agree to let him . . . serve as chief monk,” he said. “He has many scandals . . . We did not see any progress and development in the pagoda.”

However, provincial deputy head monk Hol Long said that it was “time for Ngek to come back to lead the pagoda”. “He has corrected his mistake after so many years,” he said.

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