Authorities have discovered additional funds and gold bars valued at roughly 100 million baht concealed behind Phra Ajarn Khom’s temple in Nakhon Ratchasima province, escalating his alleged embezzlement to almost 300 million baht.
Earlier today, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, chief of the Central Investigation Bureau, disclosed that on Sunday, detectives and representatives of Wat Pa Dhammakiri’s new administration uncovered approximately 80 million baht in currency and gold bars.
The items are valued at around 19 million baht and it is hidden on a hill behind the temple in Pak Chong district.
According to the commissioner, authorities have found around 300 million baht of money and valuable things that they believe were stolen by the former monk Phra Ajarn Khom, who now goes by Khom Khongkaeo, and his partners.
“The offenses might go back to 2020… The motive would be the huge amount of money that faithful people donated… The suspects may have wrongly believed the money came from the people’s faith in them, but that’s not the case at all,” Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop stated.
Police had identified only three suspects in the embezzlement investigation thus far, but their inquiry was widening. Legal action would be taken against any additional individuals involved.
All relevant agencies were supporting the police in their inquiry. No one would face false accusations.
On Monday, police requested the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases to prolong the detention of the three suspects for an additional 12 days while the investigation proceeds.
The suspects include Mr. Khom, 39, his younger sister Juthathip Phubodiwarochuphan, 35, and Wuthima Thaomor, 38, the temple’s former abbot.
The trio was arrested on allegations of stealing 180 million baht from the temple. Mr. Khom gained recognition for his meditation approach and attracted numerous high-profile devotees, and he has denied the charges.