Ratanakkiri Provincial Court yesterday charged a disgraced monk over a stolen Buddha statue from a temple in the province.
Captain Chea Kimsan, chief of staff at the Veun Sai district police, identified the accused as Long Sakhorn, 32, a monk who was living in Khsach Kandal pagoda in Kandal province before the incident.
He said that the accused, who was defrocked after his arrest on Wednesday, was charged by the court for theft and has been jailed pending trial.
Cap Kimsan said that the accused on Monday travelled from Kandal province to visit a friend at the Veun Sai pagoda in Ratanakkiri’s Veun Sai district.
He said that on Tuesday at about 11:30pm, Mr Sakhorn entered the private quarters of the pagoda chief as he was asleep.
He said that the accused stole a 36-kilo copper Buddha statue from the room and hid it in a nearby jungle with the intention to sell the statue on the black market.
“He entered the room to steal the statue of Buddha from the pagoda chief while he was sleeping,” Cap Kimsan said. “He then brought it to a jungle nearby and hid the statue so that it could be sold later in Kandal province.”
Cap Kimsan said that the disgraced monk was arrested the following morning after a complaint was filed.
“He was later arrested by our local police,” he said. “He was arrested in accordance with a complaint by the pagoda chief after he found out that the statue was missing.”
After his arrest, police officials extracted the location of the hidden statue and recovered it, handing it back to the pagoda chief.