Police from the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) and the Counter Corruption Division (CCD) this morning arrested at least seven people, including Panom Sornsilp, former director of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB), in connection with the widely-publicised embezzlement of funds for the development and renovation of temples nationwide.
The police, armed with search and arrest warrants issued by the Criminal Court, were deployed to various locations to arrest the following persons:
– Panom Sornsilp, former NOB director;
– Kaew Chidtakhom, director of Samut Songkhram Office of Buddhism;
– Ms Pranom Kongpikul, director of Samut Prakan Office of Buddhism;
– Narongdej Chainet, director of Sing Buri Office of Buddhism;
– Chayapol Pongseeda, deputy directof of NOB;
– Wasawat Kittitheerasith, director of NOB’s temple renovation and development office;
– Boonlert Sopha, director of Lampang Office of Buddhism;
– Pattana Su-ammatmontree, director of Nakhon Pathom Office of Buddhism;
– Mrs Pornpen Kititharangkoon, a religion academic; and
– Jesada wongmek, a businessman/construction contractor.
Seven of the 10 suspects, including Mr Panom, were reported to have been arrested and brought to the CSD headquarters for further legal questioning.
As for the three others, police were still looking for Mr Wasawat and Mr Jesada, while Ms Pranom was reported to have travelled abroad since June.
The mass arrests carried out on Wednesday morning followed the arrests of a number of senior monks in connection with the temple fund embezzlement.