Home / News / World /  Thailand temple left vacant after Buddhist monks fail drug tests

In a bizarre incident reportedly, a Buddhist temple in Thailand has been left empty after all the monks residing in it failed drug tests. The monks who were defrocked also included the abbot, news agency AFP reported. 

All the monks tested positive for methamphetamine in the northern province of Phetchabun. There were a total of four monks who tested positive for ‘meth’ in Phetchabun province's Bung Sam Phan district, district official Boonlert Thintapthai told AFP.

The authorities have sent the four monks to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, the official confirmed. 

"The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making," he said.

In Buddhism, merit-making involves worshippers donating food to monks as a good deed. This also amounts to earning a ‘protective force through giving out good’. 

Thintapthai said that regional officials had sought the assistance of the local monastic chief, who had promised to assign some new monks to the temple in the Bung Sam Phan district in a bid to address the concerns of worshippers.

Thailand is a major transit country for methamphetamine flooding in from Myanmar's troubled Shan state via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The drugs flood into the country from Myanmar - the world's biggest producer of methamphetamine - via Laos.

On the street, pills sell for less than 20 baht (around $0.50).

Authorities across Southeast Asia have made record meth seizures in recent years. Last month, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered a clampdown on drugs after a former police officer who had been dismissed from the force for methamphetamine possession killed 37 people during a shooting at a nursery.

Meanwhile, Thailand has seen a sudden surge in influx of international tourists as restrictions have been lifted. However, it has come with its own evil, wherein the island country has also seen a spike in its Covid-19 cases. As per a report on Bloomberg, an average of 702 Covid patients were hospitalized a day in the week ended 26 November.

The report said that a total of 74 people died during the period, up from 40 people in the week ended 5 November. The number of Covid patients in Thailand increased almost two-fold from the start of November, according to their Health Ministry.

(With inputs from AFP)


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