Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday questioned a defrocked monk over allegedly filming naked women bathing in blessed water at Srah Chak pagoda in Daun Penh district, a court official said.
Today the court intends to charge Net Khai, 37, and send him to Dangkao district’s Prey Sar prison, according to deputy prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot.
The former monk, Net Khai, who surreptitiously filmed more than ten nude women as they poured holy water over themselves in a pagoda bathroom, tarnished the image of Cambodian religion and culture, municipal police chief Touch Naruth said.
“This monk’s act of filming naked women seriously affects our Cambodian society and Cambodian women’s dignity,” Mr Naruth said.
National police chief Neth Savoeun has appealed to any women whose privacy and dignity had been violated by Mr Khai’s actions to come forward and file complaints to aid police in their investigations, Mr Naruth said.
NGOs and police have already lodged complaints with the court on behalf of filmed women who have not yet done so, Mr Naruth added.
Four women filmed by Mr Khai have already filed complaints against the monk, who was defrocked and arrested on Saturday, Daun Penh district police chief Hun Sothy said.
A 23-year-old woman filed a complaint on Wednesday after Mr Khai filmed her bathing on his mobile phone and shared the video with other mobile phone users via Bluetooth, said Det Lavy, the chief of cults and religions for Daun Penh district.
Non Nget, supreme patriarch of the Mohanikaya sect of Buddhism, said that he does not think individual crimes affect the general quality of Buddhist monks in Cambodia.
“It is not connected to our monks’ discipline at all, and now Net Khai is defrocked so the law can sentence him. Yet we are sorry that this man was formerly a monk and did something repulsive to Cambodian society,” Non Nget said.
Still, Non Nget said that he wanted answers about why the women were naked in the pagoda at all, and appealed against such practices in the future.
“Why were [the women] bathing naked in the monk’s bathroom in the pagoda?” Non Nget asked.