Search called off as no traces of Dhammachayo were found

Officials of the Department of Special Investigation and police on Thursday searched 90 spots within 196-rai area in the spacious compound of Wat Dhammakaya but failed to locate the elusive former abbot of the temple, Phra Dhammachayo.

The 3-hour extensive search which was led by DSI director-general Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang was called off at about 4 pm as police and DSI officials left the temple empty-handed.

An informed DSI source said that the 90 spots that were searched were suspected to be used as a hiding place for Dhammachayo who has not been seen in public for months. No traces of the former abbot were found, the source added.

No violence was reported during the search although there were a few incidents when some monks chanted prayers and formed human shield to try to block the officials from doing their job.

The source said that DSI officials, police and army officers would meet this evening to assess the officials’ performance and to discuss their next move.

While DSI officials and police were conducting their search inside the temple’s compound, army troops from the First Army Region laid siege to the temple from the outside to prevent unauthorized people from getting into the temple.

More than 3,000 police, DSI officials and army personnel were deployed in the raid of the temple on Thursday.