Police have launched a manhunt for the former deputy abbot of a temple in Udon Thani who allegedly hacked a man to death inside the temple.
Police have also arrested two 15-year-old boys on charge of helping the monk conceal the body. An 11-year-old boy, a former novice at the temple, alerted police to the murder and is now a witness in the case.
Police rushed to the Sri Boonruang Temple in Tambon Non Sung in Muang district and found the body of Wicharn Prommin, 44, buried under a newly built concrete floor.
The 11-year-old boy told police that Phra Songkran Sinchai, 41, who has fled, killed Wicharn with an axe on Friday evening. The boy said Phra Songkran was drinking in his living quarters when Wicharn came to demand money for a fighting cock the monk had bought from him.
The boy said the monk became angry and hit the man, then asked the two teenagers to beat him until he was unconscious. The monk then hacked the face and neck of the man with an axe.
Phra Songkran then ordered the two teenagers and the boy to dig a hole and bury the body. The three boys were told not to tell anyone or the monk would kill them. The former novice said the monk's saffron robes were stained with blood and were buried with the body.