The Svay Rieng Provincial Court charged a 31-year-old man with drug distribution and use on Friday after he was caught in the act of smoking methamphetamine with four teenage monks in a pagoda in the province’s Svay Teap district, a prosecutor said.
The man, Rat Touch, allegedly confessed to police that he had been bringing methamphetamine back and forth between Phnom Penh and Svay Rieng to sell and had introduced the four young monks to the drug at Odom Samakki Raingsey pagoda.
Mr. Touch and the four monks were all arrested, and the monks were defrocked after being apprehended in the act of smoking methamphetamine inside a dormitory at the pagoda on Wednesday afternoon, but the teenagers were later released into the custody of their parents, according to deputy provincial prosecutor Phan Ratana.
“The four teenagers were released to return home because they were victims related to drug use, and they were returned to their parents to detox from the drug,” he said.
Mr. Touch, however, was charged by Investigating Judge Sovann Chankrisna with drug distribution and use and remanded to the provincial prison on Friday morning, the prosecutor added.