Monk Defrocked After Being Caught Driving Van for Late-Night Sightseeing at Na Jomtien Beach

PHOTO: Mgronline

Sattahip —

A Buddhist monk was defrocked after being caught by concerned residents driving around in a van and enjoying seaside views of Sattahip’s Na Jomtien Beach early Tuesday morning, July 2nd, 2024.

At 12:10 AM today, Mr. Udom Suwankana, the head of Na Jomtien Village 1, along with his assistants, inspected the Na Jomtien Beach area in front of the Khao Tom Setthi restaurant in response to reports from residents who reported having seen a monk driving an old yellow Isuzu van seemingly enjoying the beach view. The residents questioned whether the man was genuinely a monk and if his behavior was appropriate.

At the beach, authorities found the monk, identified as 76-year-old Luang Ta Noo Thi Thinrat, sitting in the driver’s seat in orange monk attire. However, he could not produce his current monk certificate when asked and only had an old one issued in 1991 from Wat Jomsri in Udon Thani province.

Inside the van, authorities found alms food scattered around, some already rotten, a pile of excrement, and several casual clothes, which he claimed belonged to his disabled son.

Luang Ta Noo Thi claimed to authorities that he had driven from his residence in Nakhon Ratchasima province to Sattahip to take his disabled son (not present at the scene) to the beach. He argued that no police officers had questioned him at checkpoints, as they knew him well. He stated that he was ordained because he was too old to do anything else. Now that he had been defrocked, he was unsure what to do next and planned to drive back to his hometown.

Authorities concluded that although driving is not a serious offense for a monk, the Supreme Sangha Council has prohibited monks from driving cars. They added Luang Ta Noo Thi’s claim of driving to enjoy the beach at night also damaged the image of Buddhist monks. Moreover, he had no clear affiliation with any temple and lacked a current monk certificate.

Therefore, the monks accompanying the authorities decided to defrock Luang Ta Noo Thi before allowing him to drive back home.

According to local media reports, Luang Ta Noo Thi had been accused in the past for using animals, such as dogs, goats, and donkeys to pull carts to solicit alms. This action resulted in him facing multiple charges of animal cruelty and eventually being disrobed previously.

PHOTO: Mgronline
PHOTO: Mgronline
PHOTO: Mgronline


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Aim Tanakorn
The local news translator at The Pattaya News. Aim is a twenty-four year old who currently lives in Bangkok. Interested in English translation, story-telling, and entrepreneurship, he believes that hard-working is an indispensable component of every success in this world.