Scuffles break out as DSI begins searching the temple today

Hundreds of Dhammachayo's followers erected barricades to defend Dhammakaya temple as several hundred police, soldiers and officials of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) were trying to enter the temple at Gate 5 and 6 to search for the stubborn monk.

Scuffles broke out as the combined force moved in, resulting in several followers and authorities slightly injured.

Klong Luang police advised all motorists to avoid all roads passing the Dhammakaya temple and Klong Luang as traffic was reported to be very congested as authorities are confronting the followers at several gates of the temple.

Traffic on Nong Sua to Klong Luang road is reported to be at standstill with several kilometre long of vehicles lining along the road immovable.

The operation today was the fifth day but failed to locate Phra Dhammachayo.

Meanwhile all 14 senior monks who were summoned to turn themselves in to the DSI at Klong Luang police station on order issued under Section 44 ignored the order as the deadline for them ended 6 pm yesterday.

Failure to report themselves is subject to one year imprisonment.

Meanwhile the DSI was giving protection to a senior monk after he decided to come out on order of authorities.

The defected monk reported to tell authorities that Phra Dhammachayo has already sneaked out of the temple since February 16. He was accompanied by his aids and doctors.

The defected monk said he could never return to the temple again after his disclosure.

DSI chief Pol Col Phaisit Wongmuang did neither deny nor confirm the monk's disclosure but said DSI has information already.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)