DHAMMAKAYA TEMPLE said yesterday that it would allow authorities to come to the temple on Wednesday to take its abbot into custody before their deadline on Thursday to avoid a potentially explosive situation, while the temple’s followers have turned to Fa
“If the officials wait till May 26 and deploy forces and armoured vehicles to search and arrest him, some of his followers would be worried and gather at the temple. “If a third party interferes, the situation will escalate and adversely affect the image of government and the country,” the temple said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the Department of Special Investigation issued an arrest warrant for Phra Dhammachayo after he missed several summons to report to hear charges of money-laundering and receiving stolen funds.
The DSI has set Thursday as the deadline for his surrender.
The temple’s statement said it would not block DSI officials if they come inside the temple on Wednesday.
Colonel Paisit Wongmuang, the new director-general of the DSI, said they would wait till Thursday before taking any action.
They would not go inside the temple because Phra Dhammachayo had never personally welcomed DSI officials to come to the temple.
Only his followers had said that through the media.
The department would meet to decide the legality of the medical excuse issued by the deputy director of Kai Panu Rangsi hospital for Phra Dhammachayo, because the hospital’s director has indicated that the document was not official.
The DSI would also decide whether to press charges of defamation and contempt of court against the temple’s spokesman, monks and TV hosts.
If the suspect seeks temporary release after his arrest, he would have to post bail based on the penalties and estimated damages in the case, he added.
Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya said officers would not raid or surround the temple to arrest Phra Dhammachayo because this was not a drug case.
“If they cannot go inside [the temple], they just have to return. There is no need to do any damage. If we end up not nabbing the suspect, we can still wrap up the case and file the charges in the court,” he said.
Videos showing the monk suffering from serious infirmities and receiving treatment at the temple were posted on Facebook Live.
Paisit said the DSI had never claimed that the monk was not sick, but there was evidence that he could still travel by car to perform functions outside the temple.