Pagoda Shelters Destroyed to ‘Clean Things Up’

Following the arrest and defrocking of two monks Thursday over their debauched behavior at a Siem Reap City pagoda, the chief monk on Friday ordered the destruction of three shelters inside the grounds where he suspected illegal activities had been taking place.

Late Thursday night, police raided the room of an unruly monk, Pich David, at the Pur Langka pagoda in Slakram commune after receiving a tip that led them to find monks, pagoda boys and women drinking and doing drugs, with used condoms on the floor.

Former monks Chan Bunna, 19, and Mr. David, 36, were arrested—along with two pagoda residents and two female market vendors—and subsequently defrocked. The Siem Reap Provincial Court charged Mr. Bunna with drug use, while Mr. David was charged with using violence against police officers.

The bust also led police to Mr. Bunna’s drug dealer, Chan Somean, 29, who was charged with trafficking illegal substances.

Keo Khouy, Pur Langka pagoda’s chief monk, said Tuesday that on Friday and Saturday, he oversaw the dismantling of three shelters used to house pagoda boys where he suspected illicit activities had been taking place.

“We dismantled them because it was chaos there,” Keo Khouy said, adding that senior monks and commune officials participated in the demolition. “We want to clean things up.”

Keo Khouy added that two of the three pagoda boys staying in the shelters, who he said were not involved in Thursday night’s depravity, had not received his approval to sleep at the pagoda.

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