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Raid of two mansions fails to find Dhammachayo

Jun 09. 2017
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By Piyanuch Tamnukasetchai
The Nation

The raid of two mansions in Phang Nga’s Takua Thung district on Friday, led by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), did not find any clues on the whereabouts of Phra Dhammachayo, the fugitive former abbot of Dhammakaya Temple.

DSI chief Pol Colonel Paisit Wongmuang led his officers to search two mansions on a mountain in Tambon Khlong Kien, along with Forestry Department officials, and Fourth Army Region soldiers, backed by air support from the Third Naval Base.

The mansions reportedly belong to a Phuket-based businessman, a close disciple of the monk. 

Paisit later told reporters that the search did not find any clues about Dhammachayo hiding here.

Authorities suspected Phra Dhammachayo might be hiding there to avoid facing criminal charges of money laundering, receiving ill-gotten gains and various land encroachments. The mansions are not far from the Dhammakaya Foundation’s World Peace Mooktawan meditation centre.

Officials were also inspecting land rights documents of the mansions, which had a 2.8km-long concrete-paved road leading to them. Paisit said there was suspicion that the mansions on 39-rai land might be encroaching on Kuan Tohla and Laem Sam forestland and the land rights document could be illegal.

Paisit claimed that the owner of the mansions was among Phuket’s wealthiest businesspeople, who had been accused of encroaching on several state lands in both Phuket and Phang Nga – some of which DSI officers were probing while some cases were being heard in court.

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