Suspended jail term for rogue monk: Thailand

THAILAND - Phetchabun's Lom Sak Court yesterday read an Appeals Court decision sentencing Phra Kasem Ajinasilo of Nam Nao district's Wat Sam Yaek monastery to a suspended two year jail term and a Bt20,000 (S$822) fine for tarnishing Buddhism.

In November 2008, the Phetchabun Buddhism Office filed a lawsuit against Phra Kasem, whose civilian name is Duangphaeng Duanmak.

It accused him of stepping on the base of a Buddha statue, slapping the statue's face and putting a sign on the brass statue urging people not to worship it because it wasn't Lord Buddha.

The lower court dismissed the case on March 17, 2009.

Phra Kasem appeared in a YouTube clip and a TV news report behaving in an allegedly inappropriate manner, leading the Royal Forestry Department to probe his monastery's use of forestland.

The department decided not to let him use the location any longer, while the Sangha of Udon Thani, where the monk was originally ordained, last October ordered him to leave the monkhood.

Phra Kasem, however, continued to practice as a monk.

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