Thai police raid Buddhist temple for wanted monk

Bangkok, Feb 16 (IANS) Thai police on Thursday entered a Buddhist temple in a bid to arrest a monk wanted in connection with alleged money laundering, the media reported.

Just before dawn, soldiers and police surrounded the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple’s compound in Pathum Thani province in an apparent preparation for a raid, the Bangkok Post reported.

The founder of the Dhammakaya religious sect, who calls himself Phra Dhammajayo, is believed to be hiding inside the temple, the police said.

He is wanted on several outstanding warrants for charges including embezzlement, money laundering and land encroachment by the temple and its other businesses in the provinces.

The 72-year-old abbot has remained inside the temple for months, saying he was too ill to face officials.

He denies the allegations, saying they were politically motivated.

There were several failed attempts to persuade the former abbot to leave the temple.