The chief monk of a Buddhist pagoda and three of his friends were arrested by military police on Monday night for alleged drug use and trafficking in Prey Veng province’s Svay Antor district.
Deputy district military police commander Seng Mony identified the four suspects as Venerable Touch Ponlork, 29, chief of the Tuol Prey Sa-ath pagoda, his student Bun Vanna, 27, military officer Leap Ratanak, 26, and Mr Ratanak’s girlfriend Kann Sophanida, 19.
He said military police had been investigating their activities for a month before the Monday night raid on the monk’s room at the pagoda, which was located in Chea Klang commune’s Chrey Seima village.
“They were arrested while they were smoking drugs in the pagoda,” he said.
After the raid, military police seized 11 small packages of crystal methamphetamine, one drug scale, four mobile phones, one motorbike, and other drug-related materials from them, added Mr Mony.
He said that after his arrest, the monk chief was defrocked and fired from the pagoda. All four suspects were still being detained for questioning and further investigation at the provincial military police headquarters.