PATHUM THANI, Thailand (AP) – Hundreds of police in Thailand are carrying out a raid on the headquarters temple of a controversial Buddhist temple sect to detain its chief, a monk facing criminal charges including accepting $40 million in embezzled money.
The action Thursday follows several previous attempts to seize Phra Dhammajayo, head of the Dhammakaya sect, thwarted when crowds of monks and followers blocked the way, risking a violent confrontation. No violence was reported initially Thursday afternoon as police moved in through one of the temple’s gates.
One of his followers, the head of a credit union, has been convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to 16 years in prison. In turn, Phra Dhammajayo was charged with money-laundering and receiving stolen property. The sect says he didn’t know the money was tainted.