Thai Temple Empty After Monks Test Positive for Drugs

Buddhist monks

A temple in Northern Thailand has been left without monks after a drug raid saw them all test positive and expelled from monkhood.

Bangkok Post reports that four monks, including an abbot, at a small temple in Bung Sam Phan district, Petchbun Province, were given urine tests during a raid by police and health officials on Monday.

When all four monks tested positive for illegal drugs, they were subsequently forced to leave the monkhood, leaving villagers concerned for their community, as well as laypeople and animals living at the temple.

The temple plays an important role in Thai culture, providing a central point for community gatherings as well as religious functions.

District officials say that new monks will be assigned to the temple, while the name and location of the temple were not reported.

Thailand is making moves to come down harder on drug use and trafficking, with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announcing large rewards for police if they can make arrests in major drug cases.