Nakhon Phanom immigration chief shunted over ex-monk escape

Nakhon Phanom immigration police chief Pol Col Chaiyot Warakjunkiat (centre) has been transferred to the regional headquarters in Khon Kaen. (File photo by Pattanapong Sripiachai)

NAKHON PHANOM: The immigration chief of this northeastern province has been moved to a regional office and is facing a probe after his subordinates allowed a former senior monk wanted in connection with a temple fund scandal to flee the country.

Pol Maj Gen Kittikorn Boonsom, the Region 4 Immigration Bureau commander, said on Wednesday that Chaiyot Warakjunkiat was moved from the Nakhon Phanom office to the regional headquarters in Khon Kaen on Tuesday.

Pol Col Chaiyot will face a disciplinary probe as the immigration office in Nakhon Phanom was within his responsibilities, the officer added.

Immigration authorities in the province were under fire for allowing former Phra Phom Methee escape raids on the morning of May 24 at three temples in connection with the fund scandal at Wat Samphanthawong in Bangkok. The ex-monk escaped to Laos through their border checkpoint later that night.

Two officials on duty at the time the former assistant abbot passed through the immigration controls are being probed.

The former monk is now in Frankfurt and is applying for asylum in Germany.

After he was detained at Frankfurt airport, senior police officers travelled to Germany hoping to return him to Thailand, but they returned empty-handed.

National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda reportedly flew back to Europe on Sunday to seek help from Interpol and German authorities to capture him.

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