PM clarified his use of Section 44 to declare Wat Dhammakaya a “restricted zone”

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha clarified on Friday that his use of Section 44 to declare Wat Dhammakaya a “restricted zone” was meant to enable officials to perform their duty to search the temple and not meant for the arrest of Phra Dhammachayo, the former abbot of the temple.

He said he had no idea whether the monk is still in the temple or not. “If he (Dhammachayo) is still there, he will be found. If he is not there, he will not be found,” he added.

The prime minister also raised his question whether it is proper for some of the monks who were seen covering their faces with masks as they held talks with the officials.

About three companies of officials of the Department of Special Investigation and ten sniffer dogs searched the temple for the second day on Friday with eight spots in Zone B to be searched. Two companies of police were stationed outside the temple in front of Gate 7.

Reporters who accompanied DSI officials in the search said that store rooms and all toilets were searched one by one.

One DSI official said if Phra Dhammachayo is still in the temple, he will definitely be located.

Meanwhile, a Facebook poster by the name of Wirangrong Tapparangsee questioned why a hyperbaric oxygen chamber was found inside a room in the temple. She noted that the machine was supposed to be used in hospital, not in any clinic and it must be operated by doctors and nurses.

She suggested that the DSI freeze the machine and investigate how it was imported and by whom.