Soldiers probe housing project in temple ground in the South

Soldiers and local administration officials yesterday questioned a former abbot of a temple in Phraphrom district of Nakhon Si Thammarat after residents complained that the temple used it's land to construct housing project for the poor.

Such business project is not the temple affairs and they suspected personal benefits might be involved.

The complaint was lodged with the Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial office of the Monk Dean which oversees all temples in the province.

The team of soldiers made their way to the Wat Cherng Trae temple in Phraphrom district in Nakhon Si Thammarat province after they received a request from the monk dean to investigate reports from villagers that the temple had used temple lands to construct residential homes for the poor.

The monk dean had already ordered the dismissal of the abbot of Wat Cherng Trae temple so that the investigation can go ahead unhindered.

The furore arose because the temple had a large vacant plot which they had earlier allowed local villagers to grow crops and reside on while remaining portions were leased out.

However, at yesterday's investigation the former abbot said the temple had plans to use the vacant plot to construct welfare lodgings for the homeless and a Dhamma study and children development center which created ill-feelings from the earlier tenants who found that they were being evicted.

An official investigation has been ordered into the matter and should be concluded within 7 days.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)