Monks Removed From Pagoda Following Pornography Scandal

The chief monk at Phnom Penh’s Wat Sras Chak has resigned, and about 70 Buddhist monks were ordered to temporarily move out of the pagoda on Friday in order to redeem its tarnished image after a former monk was arrested for allegedly filming more than 100 naked women there, said deputy head of Mohanikaya Buddhist monks in the capital Khim Son.

“We asked them to leave so we can reorganize the pagoda,” Khim Son said yesterday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 29 charged defrocked Buddhist monk Net Khai with producing and disseminating pornography after he allegedly filmed more than 100 women at his pagoda as they bathed naked with blessed water.

Monks will be allowed to return to Daun Penh district’s Wat Sras Chak on July 21 provided they enroll in high school or university courses, Khim Son said yesterday, adding that monks from around the capital will visit the pagoda when it reopens to perform prayers.

“There will be a prayer for Buddhist discipline and purity and sincerity,” he said.

Meas Kong said by telephone yesterday that he resigned because of the alleged crimes committed by Net Khai.

“Now I am very ashamed of myself and disappointed because I could not run the pagoda well,” Meas Kong said.

Meas Kong now lives at Wat Varin Prek Leap pagoda with temporarily expelled monks from Wat Sras Chak. The rest of the pagoda’s monks are residing at Wat Koh, Wat Sarawanth and Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh, he said.

During an interview at Wat Sras Chak yesterday, Souy Chanrith said he moved into the pagoda on Saturday with twelve other monks to clean the compound in advance of a blessing ceremony on July 21.

The blessing is meant to wipe away the pagoda’s tarnished image, another monk, Iev Ratana, said yesterday at Wat Sras Chak.

“The monks will hold a ceremony to rinse bad luck from the Dharma hall,” he said.



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