Fake monk begs for money

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Sittichai Tansuwan has been detained for purporting to be a monk and soliciting alms from passers-by.
Sittichai Tansuwan has been detained for purporting to be a monk and soliciting alms from passers-by.

Najomtien police officers were called out Sept. 22 to investigate reports that a man purporting to be a monk was soliciting alms from passers-by.

Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Somporn Kanthoung attended the scene opposite the Sukhumvit Road turn-off to Wat Yansangwararam and found Sittichai Tansuwan, 39, matching the reported description.

Upon initial questioning, Sittichai, a native of Khon Kaen, admitted that he had no official monk ID documentation but claimed he was affiliated with a temple located in Nong Bua Lumphu province of northern Thailand.

The self-styled wandering priest said he had been in the monkhood for 14 years and was currently on a pilgrimage. He said he stayed at the side of a river in Sattahip for about a week and was now asking for donations from citizens to facilitate a return trip home.

Sgt. Maj. Somporn was suspicious of Sittichai’s story and a search of the monk’s cell-phone showed evidence of recent visits to several adult websites.

After being taken to see Pra Kru Piyakitwiboon (Ajan Kaew), the Monk Dean of Najomtien to verify his status, Sittichai was drug tested, with the results revealing traces of the narcotic Type 1 (amphetamine). Police detained him for further questioning.