Citynews – Tourist police inspected another building in Chiang Mai, this time in a temple, after reports it was being used as an illegal hotel for tourists, later finding out the word ‘Restroom’ was referring to a toilet rather than a bedroom but still unsure if temple staff misunderstood the word and are operating a hotel in the grounds or not.
Last week, police were informed that a building in Wat Ou Sai Kham was being used as a hotel, charging up to 600 baht a night for a room in a three storey building in the temple grounds.
However, after a short investigation, the advisory to the the temple, Jakkuban Thananchai, and a representative from the Academic Office of Buddhism Chiang Mai, Sanan Changprung, came to the police to explain that the claim was not true.
They told police that the room was given to monks who had visited Chiang Mai to receive medical treatment but had nowhere to stay. They opened a total of 11 rooms for monks as a place they could sleep, rest and meditate while waiting for their next hospital appointment. Sometime the relatives of the monks would also come to Chiang Mai and use the rooms temporarily.
It was added that they were not charging for the rooms but monks and visitors often donated money to the temple for the stay. They told police that this had been going on for more than 20 years without a problem.
Despite the claims by the two temple representatives, the Tourist police decided to investigate the building themselves and discovered a layout much like a hotel lobby, with wooden furniture, decorations, a breakfast room and a cupboard full of bed sheets and cleaning products. They also discovered registration documents much like those people fill out in regular hotels.
They also found a sign reading ‘Public Restroom for international tourists at Wat Ou Sai Kham’ in the lobby area.
However, during the investigation they were stopped from looking any further as the abbot was not at the temple so permission could not be given.
On September 7, the director of Chiang Mai Tourism and Sports visited Wat Ou Sai Kham and found that the sign, reference: Thailand Tourism Standard 2010-2012, was in fact a sign for a toilet that could be used by tourists in the temple grounds, but had been placed on the wrong building. The word restroom was in reference to a toilet, not a bedroom.
It is unclear whether the Police misinterpreted the sign or the temple staff misinterpreted it in order to invite tourists to stay at the temple.
In response to this revelation, the Tourist police insist on investigating the building further to be sure that they are not using it as a guesthouse for tourists.
This morning, the local municipality decided to help with the investigation by sending officers to the temple to inspect further. However, when they arrived, the building was deserted and no staff or temple members offered to come forward with any further information, causing authorities to become more suspicious.
The investigation is still ongoing.