Extradition of ex-monk held up

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is waiting for public prosecutors to arraign a notorious former monk known as Nenkham on all five charges before an extradition process can resume.

"We had tried to have him sent back to Thailand before but faced with legal obstacles. So, we will need to wait till public prosecutors go ahead with all five charges for us to proceed further," DSI chief Suwana Suwanjata said yesterday.

The DSI Bureau of Security Crime said it has pressed charges of taking a minor away from her parents, statutory rape, public fraud, money laundering, and computer crimes against Wirapol Sukpol - who was previously known as Luang Pu Nenkham Chattigo. "So far, public prosecutors have decided to go ahead with the first two charges only. They have not yet made a decision on the remaining charges," the bureau's director Pong-In Intarakhao said.

But Thai authorities had already revoked Wirapol's passport, he said.

"It's up to the foreign country he visits whether it will allow him in," Pong-In said.

Wirapol fled abroad last year, after a scandal broke out over claims over a raft of wrongdoing, including having sexual relations with a minor while he wore saffron and was supposed to uphold the vow of celibacy.

He has caught media attention again after claims emerged online recently that Wirapol continues to wear a monk's robes and has been living in the United States.