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Monk arrested for weapon possession

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Authorities arrest Horn Sophanny. Supplied

A Buddhist monk was arrested by Battambang provincial police yesterday for illegal possession of a weapon.  
Cheth Vanny, deputy chief of Battambang Provincial Police, identified the monk as Venerable Horn Sophanny, 24, of Wat Damrey Sar, a famous pagoda in Battambang city.  
“He was arrested by police in accordance with a warrant from the court,” Mr Vanny said.
“He is accused of two offences against Buddhism, plus unauthorised possession of a weapon.”
He added the accused man had now been defrocked and was last night being questioned by the investigative judge at Battambang provincial court.  
He faces up to three years in prison plus a fine of up to $250 – $1500 if convicted.
Ly Buntha, a police officer in the provincial major crimes unit, said the offences stemmed back to the night of April 9, when five armed men shot dead Venerable Sum Sitha, 44, the chief of Roleak Kandorl pagoda in Kratie province’s Chhlong district. 
Mr Buntha said that five days later Mr Sophanny posted a photograph of a machine gun on his Facebook page, saying: “If the killers dare to come to my pagoda, I will use this machine gun to kill them!”
He also posted a picture of himself sitting on the pagoda floor, holding the machine gun as if ready to shoot.
That photo was widely distributed on social media and was said to have deeply affected Buddhist followers.

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