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Dhammakaya’s deputy abbot and 19 others released on bail

Mar 25. 2017
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By The Nation

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Dhammakaya Temple's deputy abbot Phra Thatthacheevo and 19 others accused of forest encroachment were each released on Bt100,000 bail on Saturday.

All the 20 suspects, who must return to court for a second detention period application on April 5, deny the charge against them, which relates to the World Peace Valley Meditation Centre in Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district.

Phra Thatthacheevo and 10 others had presented themselves in response to a police summonses to hear the charge at the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division office in Bangkok on Friday. They were released on condition that they met up with the officers again early Saturday to apply for the first 12-day detention order from the Sikhiu Provincial Court. Another 10 individuals, who also received summonses and had reportedly asked for postponement to hear the charge on April 4, also showed up at the court Saturday, bringing the total number to 20.

The Dhammakaya meditation centre in Khao Yai has also come under scrutiny following accusations that it encroaches on forest and agricultural reform land. The Sikhiu court had already issued an arrest warrant for former abbot Phra Dhammachayo in connection with this centre's alleged encroachment case.

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