Three monks have been removed from the Khemavoan pagoda in Kompong Chhnang district’s Ksam commune after drinking beer inside the pagoda grounds, police said Tuesday.
At about 11 pm on Sunday the police were tipped off when a boy ran into the police station and said that monks were drinking at the pagoda, commune police chief Im Srun said. He immediately sent police to the pagoda, a few hundred meters away from the police station, to investigate.
“I saw about five monks, three were helping each other because they were too drunk to walk. And the other two monks were urinating on the wall,” said commune police officer Muy Im. “When they saw me they ran away.”
Since it is not a criminal offence to drink alcohol in a pagoda, police informed the chief monk, Tem Thoeun, who said he would inform the cults and religions department Monday morning. During a search of the monks’ room, police and the chief monk found clothes, metal sticks and some CDs. They also found two empty wine bottles outside the pagoda, Muy Im said.
The three monks ejected from the pagoda are the ones who stayed in the compound when police arrived, Tem Thoeun said, but there were about seven monks involved in the incident. He added that the remain four monks would likely be asked to leave the pagoda once the investigation was finished.
“They are very bad monks. One monk was very rude, he said rude words to the police,” Tem Thoeun said. “They didn’t confess to the drinking, no one said anything, only after we saw it with our own eyes. They are gangster monks.”