Thai authorities on Monday arrested four Cambodian monks for illegally crossing into the country to collect offerings from Buddhist followers in Chonburi province, according to a Banteay Meanchey provincial police officer and a rights group.
An officer with Banteay Meanchey provincial police, who requested anonymity, said that Thai authorities arrested four monks and defrocked them after they illegally crossed into the country and began visiting homes to collect alms and food from people.
The officer identified the four as Nang Chorn, 45; Orm Sieng, 66; Trang, 33; and Rith, 36. He said the four of them were hiding in a forest in Chonburi province while taking trips to visit homes.
Poipet city police officers declined to comment.
Soum Chankea, Banteay Meanchey provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, confirmed the arrest of the four men and added that it was not surprising.
“This is not new because we have seen that it happens very often,” he said. “Monks go to Thailand for their continued studies and for collecting offerings, but they need to go there through legal channels and with a passport as required.”
“Thai authorities will take action if anybody enters illegally, regardless of if they are monks or not,” he added.