A Buddhist monk was arrested and defrocked on Saturday for allegedly filming more than 10 naked women bathing in blessed water at Phnom Penh’s Sras Chak pagoda, police said.
Net Khai, 37, hid a mobile telephone camera to capture the women unaware who came for water blessings, said Det Lavy, Daun Penh district chief of cult and religions, noting that the video of one victim was distributed to numerous other mobile telephones last week.
“It is the first time that a monk has filmed female clients in the bathroom while giving a water blessing to them. This monk’s act shames other religions and is too dirty for our Cambodian society,” Mr Lavy said.
A 23-year-old woman filed a police complaint on Wednesday after Net Khai shared naked images of her with others because her parents rejected his marriage proposal, Mr Lavy said.
Daun Penh district governor Sok Sambath said that four other women have filed complaints and Net Khai will be taken to Phnom Penh Municipal Court today.
Mr Sambath said that he led a raid of police, court, local authorities and cult and religions officials to Net Khai’s abode where they found recording equipment, 143 cassettes and DVDs, including pornography and $5,135 earned from water blessings.
Meas Kong, chief monk at Sras Chak pagoda, said that Net Khai came to reside at the pagoda nine years ago from Kompong Cham’s Ponhea Krek district.
“I heard at the scene monk Net Khai confess to the police that he filmed women in the bathroom in 2008…. We are very concerned that people will have a bad conception of the pagoda and Buddhism, but committing illegal acts is a personal issue,” Meas Kong said.
Mao Thul, 47, who lives nearby, said she was shocked by Net Khai’s alleged acts. “It is very bad that the monk took pictures of women in the bathroom and it will really affect peoples’ belief in Buddhism,” Ms Thul said.