AN EX-MONK, widely known as Phra Buddha Isara, has confessed to using the initials of the late HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej and HM Queen Sirikit for making amulets, without permission, but insists that he had no malicious intent.
He also denied charges of illegal association stemming from his role as a co-leader of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
Back in 2014, the PDRC led rallies against the Yingluck Shinawatra-led government. At the height of the rallies, Phra Buddha Isara reportedly mobilised demonstrators to attack two special-branch policemen and snatch their guns. Due to these charges, armed commando police raided Onoi Temple and arrested him on Thursday morning.
Later in the day, he was defrocked and sent to jail because he failed to secure a bail.
People Reform Party leader Paiboon Nititawan, who is a follower of Phra Buddha Isara or Suwit Thongprasert, visited the ex-monk at the Bangkok Remand Prison yesterday. “He’s healthy and fine,” Paiboon said following the visit.
According to him, Suwit has no plan to quickly submit another bail request. “He prefers to wait till police submit the investigation report first,” Paiboon said.
He added that Suwit did not intend to sue police for excessive use of force in the arrest operation.
Some people expressed abhorrence over the police carrying weapons when they raided Phra Buddha Isara’s living quarters inside the temple.
National police Commissioner Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda has said police carried out the operation in line with normal procedures.
“It’s just that people have hardly seen the arrests of monks,” he said.
Phra Buddha Isara was the not only monk arrested on Thursday. Almost simultaneously, police also raided three Bangkok temples and arrested five senior monks.
All the arrested were denied bail and defrocked.
Corrections Department’s director-general Pol Colonel Naras Savestanan said Suwit and the five other ex-monks were kept in separate cells. “We allow them to wear white robes until they are able to adjust,” Naras said.
Inmate uniforms are brown in colour but Naras said those spending a long time in monkhood might feel uncomfortable if they were not even allowed to wear white.