Every monk at the Thai temple has been fired after testing positive for meth
A Buddhist temple in central Thailand was left without monks after all of its holy men failed drug tests and were removed from office, a local official said Tuesday.
Four monks, including an abbot, at a temple in Bung Sam Phan district of Phetchabun province tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday, district official Boonlert Thintapthai told AFP.
The monks were sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, the official said.
“The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned that they will not be able to earn merit,” he said. Making merit means that worshipers donate food to monks as a good deed.
Boonlert said more monks will be sent to the temple to allow villagers to carry out their religious obligations.
Thailand is a key transit country for methamphetamines pouring in from Myanmar’s troubled Shan State via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Meth pills called yaba are sold on the street for less than 20 baht (about $0.50).
“Meth, and Yaba in particular, is easy to find in every corner [Thailand] – supply is high everywhere and at this point a pill is cheaper than a beer,” UNODC’s Jeremy Douglas told Thai Inquirer.
Authorities across Southeast Asia and around the world have made record seizures of meth in recent months.
Last month Hong Kong reportedly made its largest meth seizure ever, finding 1.8 tonnes of liquid meth hidden in cartons of coconut water en route to Australia.
In August, Authorities found 2 tons of meth hidden in marble tiles shipped to Sydney from the Middle East in what police say is Australia’s biggest-ever seizure of the illicit drug.
Also in August, Mexican soldiers seized nearly 1.5 tons of meth and 328 pounds of what appeared to be powdered fentanyl at a checkpoint in northern Sonora state.
In July, more than 5,000 pounds of meth was found in a record-breaking seizure in Southern California.