Dhammachayo to face more charges for encroachment of state lands in Phuket and Phang Nga

As the controversial former abbot of Wat Dhammakaya, Phra Dhammachayo, is staying low profile and avoids turning himself to the authorities to face charges, more charges for land encroachment in Phuket and Phang Nga provinces to build meditation centres are being prepared to filed against him.

At present Phra Dhammachayo and the temple have been faced with over 100 legal cases, mostly encroachment of forest areas in national park, and construction of buildings and other structures with no official permits.

Deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police Pol Gen Sriwara Rangsipromnakul was expected to inspect the sites of meditation centres today.

The controversial monk and his temple are accused of illegal forest encroachment at four locations in Phang-nga and Phuket.

The meditation centre, the World Peace Mooktawan, is said to belong to the Dhammakaya Foundation, run by the abbot and the temple.

Pol Gen Sriwara said he would soon travel to follow up the case on the forest encroachment of World Peace Mooktawan in Koh Yao Noi island in Phang-nga and Kuan Jook National Forest to build meditation centre which covered almost 500 rai of land in Phuket.

He said these were the additional cases related to Wat Phra Dhammakaya.

He said police would seek court's order to issue additional arrest warrants for forest encroachment at four more locations in the two southern provinces.

Phra Dhammachayo is under arrest warrant for forest encroachment to build the meditation centre-World Peace Valley at Khao Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima, forest encroachment in Loei and conspiracy in money laundering and receiving ill-gotten property from Klong Chan Credit Union Cooperative.

As for the spokesman of Wat Phra Dhammakaya's disciples, Ong-art Thamnitha, who evading a police arrest warrant for inciting unrest, the police investigative team could not find him but there was no information that he has fled the country.

Pol Gen Sriwara added that there was no need to invoke Section 44 of the Interim Constitution against Wat Phra Dhammakaya.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)