Drunk Monk Swerves Off Middle Path, Crashes Into Car

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Police officers direct traffic in Phnom Penh on September 15, 2020. (VOD)

A chief monk at a Banteay Meanchey pagoda was defrocked for drunken driving after he crashed into an oncoming car.

Seng Somony, a spokesperson for the Religions Ministry, said Hing Chak was the chief monk of Wat Poy Angkor and in charge of monks’ discipline in the province’s Malai district. Chak was caught drunk driving in the provincial capital Serei Saophoan on August 25 when he crashed into an oncoming car, Somony said.

The monk was defrocked the next day and asked to leave the monkhood to prevent him from affecting other monks in the clergy.

“He accepted his mistake and asked to leave based on the discipline,” Somony said.

Somony said Buddhist principles for monks did not allow them to drive cars. He said it was possible that the monk had lost his spirituality but said the incident did not reflect on the values of Buddhism in the country, which was still very strong.

Provincial police traffic bureau chief Ky Makara said the monk traveled to the capital to buy medicines, got drunk and was driving back to Takong commune in Malai when he crashed into another car. The monk did not have a driving license, he added.

He said no one was injured in the accident. The two sides were trying to negotiate a settlement, though if there was no agreement the case could be sent to a superior officer or even the courts, he said.

Makara noted that the monk had a high-enough blood alcohol content to make him swerve into oncoming traffic.

Takong commune police chief Mey Sarorn said Chak was a learned monk and had no issues in the pagoda or commune.

“I did not expect this,” Sarorn said. “I feel disappointed because there is only him in almost all of Takong commune who seems to be outstanding and had more education.”

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