Monday, January 27, 2020
Get Adobe Flash player

(CNN) — To most of us, golden Aviator sunglasses, sleek wireless headphones, a Louis Vuitton bag and a private jet flight better suit the life of a Hollywood star than a holy Buddhist ascetic.

Yet Thailand’s so-called “jet-set monk,” 34-year old Luang Pu Nenkham, who claimed to be the reincarnation of a respected monk who lived several decades ago, is accused of ignoring his Buddhist vows of celibacy and a simple, moral living, as evidenced in video that showed up on youtube about two months ago. Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI), a division of the Ministry of Justice, tells CNN it believes the video was shot by one of the monks on the plane, passed around and posted anonymously.

Thai authorities, in an investigation, uncovered a mind-boggling list of assets that they say a man sworn to austerity should not possess.

Nenkham, now stripped of his religious leadership, owned at least 83 automobiles and a list of properties that include plots of land, houses and condominiums, according to the DSI. Thai authorities believe more properties have yet to be accounted.

Authorities also estimate at least 300 million baht, or nearly $10 million, have disappeared from Nenkham’s bank accounts in recent days. Donations over the past decade, from poor supporters as well as rich backers, had helped Nenkham amass his total wealth, according to investigators.

On Wednesday, Thai authorities took action issuing a arrest warrant for the former holy man.

Nenkham, who also goes by the name Weerapol Sukpol, now faces charges of violating Thailand’s computer crime act by posting “deceitful information,” having sex with a minor and rape, authorities say. A female plaintiff who claimed Nenkham had sex with her when she was 14 years old submitted a request for a DNA test for her 11-year old son, says Tharit Pengdit, Director General of the Department of Special Investigation. They are still awaiting results. Nenkham’s bank accounts also continue to be under investigation because of an unusually large amount of bank transactions, add Thai authorities.

Nenkham is now believed to be in the United States and in California, according to an “intelligent source,” says DSI. The fugitive owns a Buddhist retreat some 75 miles south of Los Angeles.

We have been unable to reach Nenkham for comment. On Thursday, CNN went to where the monk is believed to be staying. While they offered no official statement, one resident monk said Nenkham had not been seen at the retreat in three months. A second monk said Nenkham had not visited for a year.

As the manhunt for the fugitive monk gathers steam, Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations tells CNN it has requested 114 financial institutions, land and transport departments to seize all of his assets. Thai authorities have also requested U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to revoke Nenkham’s visa, DSI’s Pengdit told CNN, and will ask U.S. authorities to arrest and remand him into Thai custody.

Court approves arrest warrant for former monk

Posted by Nuttapon_S On July - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

BANGKOK, July 17 – Thailand’s Criminal Court on Wednesday approved an arrest warrant sought by the Special Investigation Department (DSI) for Wiraphon Sukphon, a former Buddhist monk, on three charges including a sex offence with minor.

The court took five hours to consider the request with all evidence submitted by Thaweewat Surasit, director of the DSI’s Bureau of Security Crime.

The defrocked monk, formerly known as Luang Pu Nen Kham, was accused of deceiving the public by advertising seeking donations and having sex with an underage girl about a decade ago.

Mr Thaweewat said the DSI would work with the Foreign Ministry and the Immigration Bureau to bring Mr Wiraphon back to Thailand to be tried.

The ex-monk is believed to be staying in the US.

The Anti-Money Laundering Office would also be asked to freeze all ill-gotten assets of the ex- monk, he said.

The DSI found he has 41 bank accounts and more than 70 luxury cars in his possession.

A woman in Thailand’s northeastern province of Si Sa Ket who claimed Mr Wiraphon fathered her son a decade ago filed a lawsuit yesterday demanding that the ex-monk acknowledge he was her son’s father and seeking 40 million baht in compensation. (MCOT online news)

DSI to seek arrest warrant for former monk

Posted by Nuttapon_S On July - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

BANGKOK, July 15 – The Special Investigation Department (DSI) will seek court approval for an arrest warrant for Mr Wiraphon Sukphon, previously known as Luang Pu Nen Kham when he was a Buddhist monk, for alleged violation of the Computer Crime Act and for the rape of an underage girl, the DSI chief said Monday.

Speaking after meeting with the investigation team, Tarit Pengdith said the DSI will ask the court to issue the warrant tomorrow. Once the warrant is approved, the agency will ask the National Buddhism Office to seek revocation of Mr Wiraphon’s passport through the Consular Affairs Department. The DSI then will ask the United States to deport the former monk to face charges in Thailand.  The US is said to be willing to cooperate on visa cancellation as sexual abuse is considered a serious offence.

The DSI will also freeze Mr Wiraphon’s known assets, including 41 bank accounts, Mr Tarit said. Other financial institutions have been asked to alert the DSI if any other accounts are found to be linked to the former monk so that they may be confiscated. All vehicles and plots of land found belonging to Mr Wiraphon will also be confiscated.

Mr Tarit said the DSI requested the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to also freeze assets of Mr Wiraphon’s relatives, associates and nominees nationwide.

On Thursday the agency will send a lawyer to ask the Si Sa Ket Provincial Juvenile and Family Court to order that the 11-year-old boy said to be a son of the former monk be legalised as his son so the boy could be entitled to inherit Wiraphon’s assets acquired lawfully.

A hot line number 090-123-1230 has been set up for the public to report any useful information about ill-gotten gains of Wiraphon or any suspicious person or group linked to the former monk.

The DSI chief however declined to confirm the former monk’s whereabouts even though he is reported to be staying in the US. (MCOT online news)

Woman tells DSI she was ex-monk’s wife

Posted by Nuttapon_S On July - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
BANGKOK, July 15 – A woman from Si Sa Ket province claiming to be an ex-wife of defrocked Buddhist monk Wirapol Sukpol filed a complaint with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) yesterday.
Salakchit Umpipat said the ex-monk, formerly known as Luang Pu Nen Kham, fathered her 11-year-old son and that he should be entitled to his assets. She said Mr Wirapol had sex with her when she was around 13 years old.
She appeared at the DSI with her son, grandmother Poey Sihawong and two provincial officials from Si Sa Ket.
DSI director general Tarit Pengdith said the offices of Buddhism in Ubon Ratchathani and Si Sa Ket provinces have ordered Luang Pu Nen Kham to be disrobed, paving the way for legal action against him, while the DSI has contacted American authorities to cancel his visa.
He is currently on a visit to the United States.
Mr Tarit said the DSI will assign a lawyer to file suit at the Juvenile Court in Si Sa Ket on behalf of the 11-year-old boy on Thursday to seek a court order for Mr Wirapol to legally accept the boy as his son.
The purpose is to entitle the boy to his share of Mr Wirapol’s lawful assets, the DSI chief said.
He said the DSI has contacted the Office of Narcotics Control Board to trace Mr Wirapol’s money trail to determine if he has been involved in drug trafficking.
Mr Wirapol’s wealth includes more than 70 luxury cars in his possession.
Mr Tarit said a meeting of related officials will be held today to follow up on the case, stressing that the authorities have sufficient evidence to take legal action against the embattled ex-monk. (MCOT online news)