31 Thai Monks Defrocked for Meth Use
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Thirty-one Thai monks from several monasteries have been officially defrocked after testing positive for drugs. An official for the kingdom's Buddhist clergy confirmed that one abbot was charged with drug trafficking and that the 31 monks, from the Ban Mo district of Saraburi province, tested positive for methamphetamine in urine tests. A local government official who wished to remain anonymous said that local villagers "frequently complained of suspicious gatherings in temples and most of them are drug users or people involved with drugs." However, the monks will be welcome to reenter the clergy upon completing rehab and abstaining from drugs. Historically, most Buddhist sects denounce the use of any intoxicating substances which can cause "heedlessness" and are thought to hinder the path to enlightenment. Thailand's Buddhist clergy has been at the center of numerous recent scandals, with local media reporting on cases of alleged drug use, gambling, and visiting prostitutes. Recent footage of three monks flying in a private jet with Louis Vuitton bags also caused outrage.