Abbot Blackmailed with Masturbation Video Says Not Me, Dividing Temple Worshipers

 | Tue 23 Jan 2018 03:46 ICT

CityNews – In November 2017, Saraphi police arrested a soldier who was blackmailing an abbot of a famous temple in Chiang Mai with alleged videos of the abbot masturbating on camera for the man. This month, reporters are following up on the story that was mostly kept out of the news in order to protect Buddhism.

Peeratham Maha, a 25 year old soldier based in Saraphi was arrested in November 2017 on charges related to blackmail of an abbot from a famous temple, also in Saraphi. The abbot claimed that he was being extorted by Peeratham who was demanding large cash payments to keep a video of the abbot masturbating for him on webcam from going public. Out of fear, the abbot transferred three amounts of money to the man before deciding to report the extortion to the police. The three payments the abbot made were of 10,000 baht, 2,000 baht and 30,000 baht.

After a short investigation,┬áPol.Col. Piyapun Pattarapongsin, the deputy commander of Chiang Mai provincial police revealed that the bank account being used to accept the money was opened under another person’s name who told police he was hired to open it for Peeratham. The suspect was also found to be using a fake Facebook account, using photos of a handsome unidentified man to deceive gay monks.

Peeratham was charged with blackmail in November 2017 and shortly after the abbot reported to police that the monk in the video masturbating was in fact not him, but a video with his face edited onto it. He wanted to make it clear that he was not gay but the reason he gave into the demands was to protect his reputation and Buddhism.

On January 19, reporters visited the abbot’s temple but he was not there. After questioning the laypeople at the temple, most believed it was him with a few that refused to accept it. Those who did not believe it was the abbot told reporters that it was edited in order to destroy the reputation of Buddhism in Thailand.

Thai Buddhism does not prevent homosexuals becoming monks or nuns, but they must follow the same rules as heterosexual monks such as celibacy.