Officials start to screen out outsiders from Dhammakaya temple

All monks and lay people who do not have residence in Wat Dhammakaya were told to get out of the temple ground at 3 pm today (Sunday) as officials of the Department of Special Investigation and police started to depopulate the temple to facilitate their search for Phra Dhammachayo and to prevent his followers from regrouping.

Meanwhile, monks are lay people who have residence in the temple were told to report themselves to authorities at Gate 6 to have their ID cards checked and registered in a bid to prevent outsiders from taking refuge in the temple.

Outsiders who were not registered will face imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to 20,000 baht for defying NCPO Order No 5/2560 if they are caught inside the temple ground.

The new measure was adopted after a discussion this morning by DSI chief Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang, Region 1 Provincial Police commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Charnthep Saesawech and Maj-Gen Pallop Fuangfoo, commander of the Anti-Aircraft Division, to evaluate the search operations in the past three days and the situation.

Pol Col Paisit said there were still several outsiders in the temple, making it difficult for the authorities to do their job efficiently. Also, he said some elements had spread false news among Dhammakaya followers that any of them who left the temple would be interrogated or face legal action, prompting several elderly people and those who are sick to become reluctant to leave.

It was reported that several Dhammakaya followers had been gathering at Gate 5 and Gate 6 since this morning after they learned that the authorities would begin screening people in the temple.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)