Protests & Denials From Kampong Chhnang ‘Magic’ Monk

Kampong Chhnang:  On August 8, 2021, more than 200 people marched to Wat Ang Serey to protest for the authorities to expel the Chief Abbot from the pagoda, accusing him of many wrongdoings and degrading the name of Buddhism.

Meeting with the media in Kampong Chhnang province, they expressed their dissatisfaction with the Chief of the pagoda, Bou Chanmony, citing the following issues:

* For the past 5 years, the Chief Inspector in the pagoda has not built anything, he has many donations from events such as Pchum Ben, New Year, Kathin, Flower Festival after Buddhists came to celebrate in the pagoda. They claim he took all for personal use, and nothing was built.

* District, provincial and national teams working to help the locals, who are philanthropists, helped build the school. He did not support and did not agree to do so. Not only that, during the Krong Pali ceremony, he ordered work on the school to stop, and not only did the people have to overcome this, but also get some roofing for the building.

On the other hand, he treated people from far-flung provinces to stay, regardless of the risk of COVID infection. He took four of the children of the villagers to be ordained illegally. He has no morals, used a microphone, insulted the government, listened to (bad?) songs, Indian chanting, (did?) magic and bragged about the monk’s misconduct.

* He quarreled with the people in the pagoda and then complained to the district police, accusing them of attempting to assassinate him. He does not accept invitations to home ceremonies, sometimes accepting them and not attending. 90% of the people are not happy with him, and they have not entered the pagoda for 5 years.

*In the past, people asked for water pumping from the well in the pagoda to intervene to put out fires, but he did not allow water to be pumped from the well in the pagoda. 

*He took the corpses of people who died of COVID to be cremated in the pagoda. People protested not to cremate them. 

*He used to sue the children of the villagers who were illegally injured to the point of insanity (*mentally ill?). 

People have complained to the local Ministry of Cult & Religions of the district, province, and the district chief, 2 or 3 times, but he refused to leave the pagoda, despite the fact that the chief abbot of 27 pagodas in Boribo district asked for his thumbprint to make a contract. He also refused to leave Ang Serey pagoda.

Citizens request the authorities and institutions at all levels to remove him from the pagoda, otherwise more than 200 families will stop believing in the authorities from now on. I

The monk explained in front of the media that he used to live at Wat Trapeang Chan and came to live in Ang Serey pagoda in 2018 at the invitation of the commune chief Chan An and the people who gave thumbprints. 60 people asked him to stay in this pagoda. He was appointed as the head of the pagoda in 2020.

Regarding the above allegations, he has the following denial:

* He did not go to the ceremonies at the invitation of the people- this is not true.

* He came to live in this pagoda before, there was no hut to live in, then he built a hut to live in during the construction, there was also opposition from the Buddhists and even the shooting of air guns at night Interfere with the construction of his hut. He bought land in the pagoda and did not agree to build a school, because they did not tell him in advance.

* He did not bring the corpses of the COVID patients to be cremated at the pagoda as alleged, but in the past the provincial authorities also tried to take the corpses to be cremated at the pagoda, but when the people objected, they withdrew.

*He did not treat patients and allow guests to stay in the pagoda during the pandemic. But, water blessings he did it and let them go back, and after complaints, he changed and did not perform them again. As for Indian chanting or Om Om magic, he did, but it was not against the discipline of the priests. As for the ordination of the four children of the villagers, he said that it was because their parents agreed, he asked for the right law, not only the commune chief and the village chief who refused to sign the agreement.

*It is true that the police officer came to pump water from the pagoda by truck, but he did not allow it to be pumped because he obeyed Samdech Techo’s recommendation, because at that time there was a lack of water in the pagoda, and the police did not go to pump wells elsewhere.

* His story The commune chief once promised the people that if he could not be expelled from the pagoda, the commune chief would be willing to return the commune seal to the district and province. The people raised him from the pagoda, he did not leave, even if he died, he did not leave.

In the protest on the morning of August 7, 2021, Mr. Chan An, the chief of Khon Rang commune, also raised the same opinion as above. He said that for almost five years, the commune council mandate at the pagoda has not been resolved. The commune chief said that he did not invite him to stay at this pagoda, but the monk did not listen to him as the commune chief, he still came to stay at this pagoda.

The commune chief also asked him to leave the pagoda so that more than 1,000 people in the whole Serey village would calm down and came back to perform rituals in this pagoda again.

Regarding this case, Mr. Am Sophea, Deputy Governor of Kampong Chhnang Province, confirmed that the incident that happened in Ang Serey Pagoda has been ongoing for some time, however, the provincial authority is trying to resolve this issue. AREY

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