Panel formed to investigate sales of revered abbot's amulets

by PRASIT TANGPRASERT, Bangkok Post, Dec 5, 2005

Luang Phor Khoon describes panel as `decent and capable'

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand -- A new 19-member panel appointed by revered abbot Luang Phor Khoon Parisutto to oversee administrative affairs at his Wat Ban Rai in Dan Khun Thod district has vowed to prevent ill-intentioned elements from reaping profits from the sale of the monk's amulets.

Pol Maj-Gen Mahakkapan Surakupt, chief of Nakhon Ratchasima police and chairman of the new panel, said the committee would tackle irregularities in the sale of Luang Phor Khoon's amulets which now must be approved by the panel. It was earlier reported more amulets had been reproduced in excess of the authorised quota. The surplus was sold and it was unclear where the money had gone.

He vowed to introduce tighter regulations at the temple and insisted none of the panel's members would exploit the temple's or abbot's reputations for their own gain.

Luang Phor Khoon yesterday said the new panel was made up of decent and capable people. None of the 108-member old panel had been re-appointed, he said.

The 82-year-old abbot yesterday returned to his temple after a five-month retreat at Wat Nong Bua Rong in Muang district of the same province. He had complained about conflicts among his followers at the temple and took temporary refuge at Wat Nong Bua Rong, saying he needed to rest.

The abbot suffers chronic heart and stroke-related conditions. He endorsed the new panel just weeks before being hospitalised amid allegations of financial irregularities at the temple.