The Supreme Patriarch of a Buddhist sect in Cambodia yesterday praised Prime Minister Hun Sen’s effort to prevent public and social media discussions of a sex scandal involving a disgraced monk and his former girlfriend.
On Monday, Mr Hun Sen appealed to the general public, saying that talking about the scandal could jeopardize Buddhism and the honour of Cambodian women.
Last week, Sril Vanna, the former chief monk of Phnom Bak Loeu pagoda in Banteay Meanchey province, was defrocked after Ke Lita, 20, accused him of raping her at her home. Mr Vanna denied the allegation saying that sex was consensual.
Non Nget, the Supreme Patriarch of the Mohanikaya sect, thanked the Prime Minister yesterday for taking the time to end the spread of the scandal and promote Buddhist values.
“The advice from [Hun Sen] is invaluable and completely appeases the dispute by promoting and protecting Buddhist values and the values of Cambodian women,” Mr Nget said.
Mr Hun Sen said on Monday that the “reputation of Buddhism should not be tarnished by an act committed by one or two monks and the honour of Khmer women should not be tarnished by one or two women either”.
Mr Hun Sen also urged social media users to stop spreading the scandal.
Seng Somony, spokesman for the Ministry of Cults and Religion, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Yin Yoeun, director of the Banteay Meanchey Religion Department, said that the scandal between Mr Vanna and Ms Lita did affect Buddhism as a whole.
“The case has completely ended but people are still talking about the case. It does affect Buddhism, that’s why the Supreme Patriarch issued the statement,” Mr Yoeun said. “[The scandal] is insignificant and it has been overblown. It is just an individual issue and outsiders made the situation seem more chaotic.”
Mr Hun Sen on Monday also warned two military officers, Khan Chansophal and Pheng Vannak, that they would be sacked for disseminating the scandal on Facebook.
“Those who created the problem include Pheng Vannak and Khan Chansophal. If they do not stop disseminating such a thing, we have to fire them from the army unit,” Mr Hun Sen said.